I got my first cell phone in November of 2000 when I was dating my wife. (We actually got engaged in December and married in February of 2001). I remember joking that I wasn't afraid of commitment because I had just entered into a 2 year cell phone contract with her. In any case, the company that we chose to provide our cell phone service was Cellular One because it advertised an unlimited family plan.
I remember Cellular One being a fairly decent service. Their customer service line was always patient and helpful. At one point, I hung up on my voice mail while listening to a message, and the bit got stuck telling my phone that I had a new message when in fact there was none. I kept getting a new message notification on my phone. I called Cell One and they walked me through fixing it. Cell One was short lived, however, because they were promptly bought out by Cingular Wireless. My initial impression of Cingular wasn't good. It seemed like our area coverage degraded, wait times for customer service were long and service wasn't very helpful, at least at the beginning, but first impressions die hard. When we moved, we moved into an area with poor cell coverage and reception in our house was pathetic. We did end up upgrading our phones in 2001 and signing another 2 year contract.
At the end of that contract, we decided to switch away from Cingular Wireless. We hoped that another provider would cover our area better. The company that I worked for at the time got a discount with AT&T Wireless, so we went with them as several of my coworkers claimed that the service was very good. In our experience, it really wasn't much better than Cingular's, but we got cool phones. We had the Motorola t722, a cool flip phone with an 8 line screen. My wife and I like flip phones for some reason. I like them because they look like those old Star Trek communicators I guess.
As I said, AT&T wasn't any better than Cingular and guess what? Within 2 months, Cingular bought out AT&T Wireless, so we were back with Cingular again, except we had AT&T Wireless accounts which they reminded us of every time we logged onto their website or called customer service.
In 2005, just before our second son was born, we talked about trimming our budget. I like technology, and I had one bill that really bothered me: Verizon. I didn't so much have a problem with the company, but I was getting so sick of the land line service. Our phone rang literally every 20 minutes all day long with telemarketers. I had every single protection from them possible: Caller ID, Call Intercept, etc, plus I was on every "do not call" list I could find, but they kept getting through. Our phone bill was $50 a month for local service alone (we had a 3rd party long distance provider that we paid separately) and all $50 of it was going to pay for a service that allowed people that I didn't want to talk to to call me incessantly. I took a gamble that switching to a full fledged Cingular account and getting newer phones would improve our coverage and we wouldn't have to pay for a redundant service. We were using the cell phones more and more so it just made more sense to me to switch to cell.
We renewed our contract (my employer again has a contract with Cingular so we got a corporate plan) and got new phones: the Sony Ericsson z500a. Our phones worked well and I canceled our land line and never looked back. I still have a phone hanging on the wall in the kitchen to cover up the phone jack, but it's only for decoration.
But that's not all. Guess what happened again within a short time of renewing our contract with Cingular? AT&T bought Cingular!
I'm telling you, my head is spinning. I'm going to ralph. I just can't keep track anymore. It's blowing my mind. I've either had 5 separate cellular providers, or just one continuous provider that can't decide on it's name.
All I know is I don't want to hear that Cellular One is buying out AT&T. I think my head will explode.
Watch below as Stephen Colbert explains the whole mess in a much more eloquent manner than I am capable of.