More than just a “first world problem,” bud.

So yesterday, I posted an update on what I felt was Verizon’s sneaky way to force me to buy a new phone, despite the fact that my current phone – a BlackBerry KEYone – works just fine and does not need any updates or any modifications.

The situation is as such.  BlackBerry is no longer partnering with TCL to make physical-keyboard smartphones, with the Key2 and Key2 LE being their last models under that partnership.  Meanwhile, Verizon is discontinuing its CDMA network in favor of a full-GSM 5G model, and although they will be keeping their 4G LTE network, the elimination of the CDMA model means that my BlackBerry phone may not operate past the end of the year.

In other words, I’m being forced to purchase a new phone – and it may be a phone I don’t want.

I received a couple of comments about my feelings toward the matter, as well as this rather derisive comment.

No, Dave, it’s not a “first world problem.”  Think about this for a second.  A cell phone is no longer considered a luxury.  For most of us, it’s a necessity.  We need to get in touch with people.  We need to be reached by people.  Whether it’s an iPhone or something from Cricket or Boost Mobile, we need a phone in our everyday lives.

My BlackBerry, for example, is more than just a device that makes and receives telephone calls.  I can monitor my blood sugar with one of the phone apps.  I can balance my bank account, I can maintain my calendar, I can use it for navigation and for safety.

The fact is, for me to get a new phone means that – because I’m one of the last remaining Verizon customers with the unlimited data plan, and to keep that unlimited data plan I have to stay out of contract and purchase my cell phones at full price – I need to scrounge up anywhere from $600 to $1,100 for a new cell phone right off the bat.  And it has to be an Android-based phone, or else I’m looking at repurchasing more than a few apps.  And it also means that a perfectly adequate cell phone would be nothing more than a landfill piece, another token of trash in our disposable world.

But yeah, remind me about how that’s a first world problem.  Remind me about how it’s so important to get a new phone every year or two, like having a phone longer than that would be some sort of symbol of inadequacy.  We already have families going deep in debt just to stay in the middle class, while others who are poor are wage-shamed because they actually own an iPhone.  Clutch the pearls already.

I get it.  Verizon’s wireless network is improving.  It’s going to 5G.  And the minute Verizon turns off their CDMA network, older phones will be bricked.  Remind me again about who benefits from this.  Will Verizon offer a credit to older phone users toward the purchase of a new phone?  Of course they WON’T.  Cell phone companies are in the business of making money for themselves and their shareholders.  They don’t give two ringy-dingies about the customer so long as the customer pays the bill and doesn’t question the additional surcharges.

Oh, and Dave … love the snide, passive-aggressive comment about blogging.  Makes me wonder whether you are actually someone who simply stumbled across my blog for the first time, or if you actually work for Verizon and are sockpuppeting a comment to support your corporate benefactor.  Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t.

But that’s happened before in this blog.

Eleven years ago, I blogged about the few months I had to use a non-BlackBerry product.  It was a Motorola RAZR, which was just useless.  And its most useless feature was its VZ Navigator GPS software, which would make three right turns to achieve a left turn.  VZ Navigator got me lost so many times, I swear it would take me three miles of windy road just to go around one city block.  It was awful.

Eventually I traded in the RAZR and went back to BlackBerry.  And I told Verizon that I would never ever buy another phone from their company if it came with VZ Navigator at the expense of a more solid mapping software.

I blogged about it … and then I received a comment from someone named “Josh Martinez.” Here’s his comment.  “chuck, VZ Navigator is far better now I use on a daily basis and love it, It has taken me from grand rapids MI to outer banks NC. The feature ran the hole [sic] time and never gave me wrong directions. It even showed me gas prices and gave me hotel and phone numbers on the way. I think you should try the feature from verizon wireless again. It now works on blackberry models.”

By the way, Josh Martinez’ e-mail had a verizon.net suffix.  I can see stuff like that.  It’s my blog.

So yeah, I get it.  I have to get a new phone – either a BlackBerry KEY2 or a KEY2 LE – before the end of the year.  Or maybe one of the other Kickstarter-based physical-keyboard models.

But don’t tell me that this is a first world problem.  We live in a world where a cell phone is a necessity rather than a luxury, and to even operate in this world, you need a cell phone that can do more today than telephone pioneers Alexander Graham Bell and Hedy Lamarr ever dreamed possible.

And I will continue to use BlackBerry for as long as possible.

Whether Verizon likes it or not