Yes, it's been a wonderful lifetime of playing Ponzi games with phone companies, monthly rates, add-on charges, and other nonsense, but even good things come to an end sometimes.
Today, Volckmann (& friends) say, "Goodbye AT&T. Hello Skype!"
Goodbye: AT&T land line
Hello: Skype Online phone number (415) 992-5570
Goodbye: US Toll-Free number
Hello: Skype-to-Skype video phone volckmann.friends
In a similar way that Television forced us toward other media—and similar to record companies who did not get with online music until after it was too late—the phone companies are forcing us toward alternate communications providers. Skype-to-Skype and local calls are 100% free for everyone, making the old AT&T lines irrelevant.
And yes, there is a lesson to be learned in branding here too: No one feels any brand loyalty to AT&T or any of the other telecom companies. You've merged, acquired, divested, and merged again with as many name changes as a chameleon has spots. Your Ponzi "new rate plans" are lies with rates creeping up despite your words to the contrary. The telecoms have done nothing to earn our trust and respect.