SBC Yahoo (now AT&T) was the internet service provider I used when I was living in Wisconsin. When I moved to Connecticut, I had to re-establish my internet service. The first thing came in mind was “do I have anything that I can’t live without AT&T’s internet service?” Well, over the years, people had got accustomed to my email account at Even though my permanent email address was my UW alumni email address and everything was forwarded to it, I felt that it was still a good idea to keep my email address. Plus, my wife was using her email account with SBC Yahoo as well. So without much hesitation, I signed up for AT&T. And during the initial signup, I was reassured verbally that I could still use my old email addresses. This made perfect sense since after all I was dealing with one company.

At least that was what I thought. Then one day last month, I had some internet connection issue and when I was talking to the technician at AT&T, I leant that the problem was caused by my Wisconsin user id. He further explained that I would need to get a new id if I wanted to continue using AT&T internet service. He also reminded me that my old user ids’ will be inactivated within 60 days.

So two days ago, my email account with AT&T internet service all of a sudden stopped working. When I logged into my account on (SBC Yahoo internet service is now part of AT&T), I was greeted with the following screen:


I guess I will have to start using my new account id now. And when they deactivate my old ids in a month I could in theory try to reclaim them if nobody else had chosen to do so.

So why is it so difficult to just “switch” my service from Wisconsin to Connecticut? Well, in theory, it shouldn’t. But in reality, AT&T has become such a large telecom company through mergers and acquisitions, not all of its own systems are as connected as they should be. Later on, during a conversation with one of AT&T’s senior technicians, he admitted that the reason they could not easily do a transparent switch was because the Wisconsin region and Connecticut region were run by two different entities, and they manage their own databases.


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