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Upgrading to iPhone 5 Despite AT&T, 2-Year Contract

It could be that I like to torture myself. Because, really, that's what a 2-year contract with a wireless carrier often turns into. An excruciatingly painful process that either ends in an "upgrade" or something resembling bitter divorce proceedings.

Long story short. That's where I am with AT&T.

There's not a nicer way to say it, the service I get on our three lines stinks. It's wholly unreliable here in Southern California and was actually worse last month in Manhattan.

That's when I had enough and called AT&T telling them that I want out. After being told, "We cannot guarantee service," (I was dumbfounded) my hour-long call ended with a manager promising to call me back when I returned home from vacation. We even scheduled a time. That call never came.

Now, my strategy is to call AT&T customer service as many times as possible each month in hopes that I will turn myself into an unprofitable customer.

On my most recent call (yesterday), a friendly customer service representative actually sent my case to "the urgent team," who will, apparently, get back to me within 72 hours.

When I finally discuss the situation with a decision maker, I will be straightforward.

From safety and convenience standpoints, it's wholly unacceptable for me to have such unreliable wireless service. I don't "want" to get out of my contract; I have to simply because AT&T is not holding up its end of the bargain.

I recently committed to Verizon on a two-year contract for two iPhone 5s. I know, that's masochistic really, given what I am dealing with now. But my need to be in a relationship with a wireless carrier is nearly as warped and powerful as Apple's (AAPL) halo effect.

I'll even let AT&T know this. Because, when it comes down to it, it's this simple, I have never come across somebody who lives in Santa Monica and is happy with AT&T service. I generally hear positive reviews about Verizon and Sprint.

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