Today, after fifteen years, I'm leaving O2.
My life over those last fifteen years has been neatly divided into spells of three years - three years at Queens University Belfast; three years in Newtownstewart; three years in Dublin; three years in Dundonald; three years in Brookeborough. Through it all, O2 have been there, every step of the way.
I can remember sitting in Glenn's house chatting with him, Andrew and Donna about these new (to us) mobile phones. They would be a good idea to have in case you were lost or stuck somewhere. The price of texts and phone calls seemed extortionate (it probably was, for what can be done now in a tariff), but it would be 'just in case'.
This was the phone I bought the very next day. BTCellnet with the screw-out aerial. My first phone from 1999.
It quickly emerged that texting was more than 'just in case' and was, in fact, almost essential to existence in those pre-Facebook msn messenger days. From that first phone, I progressed to the Nokia 3310, and the inevitable playing of Snake 2.
Nokia, the indestructible phones, were my staple for quite a few years. The 5200 was a cool, funky, flip phone which doubled as a music player. It was great, right up until the night that it went a bit mad and started phoning my contacts randomly in the middle of the night.
While sojourning in Dublin, I had two mobiles simultaneously - my Irish network of choice being O2Ireland, with another Nokia - a 6100?
There was, I think, one more Nokia, but it was recycled after I upgraded to the iFamily: iPhone 3; iPhone 4; 1Phone 5c. A wealth of possibilities in the palm of your hand - texting, phone calls, email, internet, maps, games, the whole Bible, prayer points, apps, and much, much more.
Fifteen whole years with one company. Fifteen years of using O2 for my mobile phone provision, as well as three years of internet provision.
The writing was on the wall when we moved to Fermanagh. O2 couldn't provide home internet as it was too far from their service provision. Hello BT Infinity. There has never been a great O2 signal in our area, with incredibly patchy coverage at home. Texts could be delayed for hours; sending texts has to be retried many times before they would send; calls may have been missed.
So today I make the change. Adios to O2 (should that be AdiO2 ?). CheeriO2. Hello Vodafone. At some point today, the change will take effect as the PAC code works its magic and the technological fairies do their thing. The advice in the email from Vodafone is clear enough:
'Wait for your current SIM to lose service (this will happen between 11am and 4pm)' - since my O2 signal has been so rubbish, how will I know if it's deactivated or just acting as normal? I'll probably have to keep checking by switching sim cards until it's sorted.
Farewell O2. Thank you for everything. Hello Vodafone!