Verizon’s latest dirty trick

Anybody who’s read my blog for any distinct period of time knows that I am loyal to my BlackBerry.  I’ve rocked the physical keyboard for at least ten years – I’ve done the Priv, the Q10, the 8703, all of them.  I’m currently driving a KeyONE and I love it.

Then came the news yesterday that BlackBerry is no longer partnering with its current cell phone manufacturer TCL, meaning that it’s very unlikely that the physical keyboard phone will ever exist in the future.

No problem, I still have my KeyONE and I’m a person that will use a phone until it physically dies.

Unfortunately, my cell phone carrier Verizon may have something to say about that.

Follow along.

Verizon operates on a CDMA carrier.  Other phone companies, like AT&T and T-Mobile, use GSM.  Verizon is moving toward GSM and all their phones in 2021 must operate on a GSM hierarchy.  Phones that are still on the CDMA network will be deactivated.

Last Monday, I called Verizon and asked what my options are.  And as usual, Verizon first treated me like I was some sort of rube.

“You’re still using a BlackBerry?  We have modern phones, sir.  You would love an iPhone.”

No, brother.  I don’t want an iPhone.

“How about a Google Pixel?”

I’m happy with what I have.

“Well, you’re going to have to get rid of it at the end of the year whether you like it or not.  You need a GSM phone for 2021.”

Fine.  I’ll get an unlocked BlackBerry Key2 or Key2 LE and go from there.

“It has to be unlocked.  And it has to be a GSM model.  Oh, and because of your unlimited data plan – jeez, you’re one of the last remaining one of THOSE customers – you have to buy your phone at full price, not from us, and bring it into the network.”

Kinda feel like one of those dogs that has to go through the obstacle course at the kennel club show.

So I checked online.  Best Buy is not carrying the BlackBerry any more.  Amazon has refurbished ones, but the prices are anywhere from $500 to $1100.

Granted, I have ten or eleven months to figure this out.  But still … I should not have to go through this planned obsolescence to keep something as necessary as a telephone in my lifetime.

Now there are some other options out there …

I could work backwards, get a GSM-based BlackBerry Passport or another KeyONE or PRIV.  That’s certainly an option, especially getting a KeyONE and just shifting all my apps and settings over to it.

I could wait until September or October and see if any prices fall on GSM-based Key2 models.  I mean, I’d love to get that 128gb Atomic model, but not at $1100.

There are two other startup physical keyboard phones, and I’m looking at them with interest.  A company called Unihertz is making something called the Titan, and there are preorders for the phone at this link.  there’s also a phone called the F(x)tec Pro, which offers a slideout keyboard and 128GB of data for $600, at this link.

But seriously … I shouldn’t have to do this.  I should be able to buy an object – a phone, a car, a pair of shoes – and it should last as long as the product is functional.  We should not be forced to purchase items every year or two just because a corporate overlord tells us we have to.

I’m now going to go outside and yell at the kids to get off my lawn. 😀