The Phone is Dead and You Just Don’t Know It Yet.

My Next Phone Will Be Google Voice on an iPad Pro.

Due to financial restrictions, I had to give up my phone contract several years ago. I then turned to Skype for my phone calls. I then left Skype because the two-stage billing process was too complicated; one for the phone number, and one for the service(minutes). I would inadvertently double pay one and skip the other. However, google voice comes with a free number and all domestic calls (incoming and outgoing) are free. The drawback is the same whether using Skype or Google Voice, my disconnected iPhone 4S can only make calls with a data connection. The plus is that I have high-speed Wi-Fi where I live, at school, at the grocery store, the coffee shop, etc.

In 2007 text messages outnumbered phone calls. Slate recently noted the death of the telephone call in the article What’s Lost When Telephone Calls Disappear (Noah, 2016). I’m announcing the death of the phone company. The disruption has already happened and everyone is just too busy and locked into their contracts to notice. The new iPad Pro can be purchased directly from apple with a contract from T-Mobile which allows 200 megabytes of data per month free of charge. 200 megabytes’ data is plenty for those calls I must make without a Wi-Fi connection. For instance, standing outside a friend’s gated community and the buzzer isn’t working, or the car breaks down and I’m stranded without a Starbucks in sight. Of course, there are options to expand the plan for a fee starting at $20 monthly for 2Gigabytes as well as and daily and weekly rates. There are also cheap third-party apps to allow 911 to be added to google voice which probably works better than 911 on a traditional mobile device.

The new reality is that almost all my communications are via email, instant message, or FaceTime. I rarely talk to anyone in a voice call. If I do those are planned and preferably carried out over the home Wi-Fi connection where I have some privacy to catch up with an old friend. I don’t need a mobile phone service, and I rarely need a separate data connection. All I need is for a phone number which acts as an email address, it just pings whichever device I’m currently on. Google voice does this.

All I need for a phone call is a data connection, and even my grocery store offers free Wi-Fi.

 

The best part is the ease of use. When someone leaves me a voice message Google translates it to text and emails it to my Gmail account. I don’t have to log into a voice system and press numbers and navigate through a voice system. I simply read the email. I can use the Google Hangouts to respond to them via a call, text or video chat. I can also go into the free app and visually manage my messages (remember when this was a big deal on the iPhone with AT&T, now it’s free). I don’t need last centuries telecom structure and I sure do not need a $80.00 monthly mobile phone bill. I just don’t understand why anyone would stay locked into mobile phone contract when all you need is a data connection, and a device capable of running an app.

Noah, T. (2016). What’s lost when telephone calls disappear. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_next_20/2016/09/what_s_lost_when_telephone_calls_disappear.html

 

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