Below is an email I sent to Mark Siegel, AT&T's executive director of media relations.
I’m writing in regard to David Pogue’s article regarding mandatory, extensive voicemail instructions on every call. I have three AT&T phone lines, and am increasingly frustrated with the canned messages I’m forced to sit through whenever I call another AT&T subscriber. Mr. Pogue indicates this is an intentional grab at increasing the number of minutes used by your customers. This is disturbing.
Yet what makes this particular action even more insidious is that, due to free mobile to mobile minutes, carriers only benefit from the extra minutes when their customers are calling customers on a different carrier. Therefore, the carriers would only benefit from this tactic if it was universal. This smacks of anti-competitive collusion.
At a minimum, please allow people to opt out of these messages for their own voicemail boxes. Better yet, eliminate the practice altogether.