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David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" Campaign

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Kudos to David Pogue for using his New York Times soapbox to point out how the cellular carriers are padding their profits by adding short messages to voicemail greetings, to instructions for listening to your own voicemail, and so on. Sure, it's only a few seconds, but when you multiply that by all the times you listen, it adds up. And when you multiply all the times it's heard by all the cellular subscribers in the country (and indeed in the world), you can see how increasing call time by just a little bit can result in real money - our money - for the carriers. (Also be sure to read his followup post.)

This isn't a conspiracy theory - cellular carrier executives have admitted this fact to Pogue. What can we do? Complain en masse. If the customer revolt is loud enough, perhaps the carriers will back down from these policies. Pogue assembled the following links to the four major U.S. carriers; I encourage you to complain to at least the one that's billing you each month.

At least the iPhone does away with the extra messages; according to Pogue, Apple insisted that AT&T drop the pre-beep message for those using the iPhone.

 

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Comments about David Pogue's "Take Back the Beep" Campaign

bughouse  2009-07-30 18:31
yikes... for some reason i always thought charges only kicked on when the beep happened, or the other party answers. this is rather outrageous...
Player_16  2009-08-03 17:45
Another way they get around this is the total amount of 'rings' that are given to you to answer your phone - around 4-5 seconds. That might sound like plenty but, it may take you 6-8 seconds to access your phone. The tune hasn't stopped playing and the it went to message bank or voice-mail which is $1.00 a pop.
Walt French  2009-08-01 11:05
I only have an iPhone to test on now (so callers hear only, "Hi, this is Walt; please leave me a message"), but I thot that using a "custom" outgoing message bypassed all that folderol both when I was on T-Mo and Sprint.

You could say, "Hi, please press # to leave a message for Walt" if you wanted to make it easy for folks.

I'm glad that Jobs insisted on none of the crap messages for iPhones, but AT&T obviously factors it into their pricing and is a fine example of the cell providers treating their customer base exactly as economic theory of monopolists and oligopolists predict. THAT's something for the FCC to look into!
In Sprint you can turn off the message and just get a beep.
How to disable it (for Sprint customers):
1.Call Your Voicemail
2.At the menu, press 3 for Personal Options
3.Press 2 for Greeting
4.Press 1 to change the greeting.
5.To enable/disable the instructions, press 3
Ralph Smith  2009-08-04 01:06
That has been a major annoyance for years. I just want to get past the c*p and hear the content. Afterwards I can press 5 to find out what might be needed.
Comcast doesn't even provide a way to find out when the incoming call occurred.
Speak up if it annoys you!