By Peter Frankl.

I’ve been dumped by text message. It was very different at the beginning. I remember the first day so many years ago. I was so excited and happy that I also wrote about it then.

On Friday 1 March 2019 I received a text from Optus that it was discontinuing its voicemail voice to text functionality. After 31 March 2019 you will not be able to use this functionality, said the text from Optus.

Voice to text has saved me perhaps hundreds of hours by being able to read missed call voicemails as texts. But now it’s all over.

To paraphrase the remainder of the text message from Optus: You can use our Voice to MMS service instead and download and listen to your voicemails you lazy sh*t. But Optus showed that it is also a company with a social conscience offering special dispensation to its disadvantaged users. To paraphrase again, the text went on to say that if you are hearing-impaired you can cancel your contract and then F-off.   

Optus provided a blog post with more information. I have no doubt that this would have been the most popular and commented post in the company’s history had commenting not been disabled so soon. The comments that did make it through were all-caps screamers. It was a stream of disappointment, disbelief, threats to switch carriers and threats of bringing in the Ombudsman.

When you are dumped you want to know what went wrong.  

Not paraphrasing, the exact words given by Optus (in the blog post) to explain the dumping was: “This decision reflects changes in the mobile landscape and customer demand.” Now they’re blaming us and making us feel like tech-dinosaurs! It can’t be true.

Voice to text has been a technology that has taken great strides in recent years. There is no way that this technology is being sunsetted. Sure, the Optus service was not perfect but it never promised to be. On the rare occasion when the message made no sense, you could listen to it on your voicemail.

Maybe dumping by text is more common than I thought it was.