Mobile Operator CEO: Customers Under Our Data Caps Don't Use Much Data, So Nobody Needs Unlimited Data

from the lolwut? dept

While we just recently got some bandwidth-providers to come out from under their caps-due-to-congestion rocks, there is a long and storied history of ISPs filling in the void of logic in the debate over caps with creamy, pink nonsense cupcakes. Because, hey! Who doesn't like cupcakes? A long-standing favorite of mine was Sprint's deft change of the English language, when they altered the meaning of "unlimited" to mean "5 gigs," because Sprint thinks the real world blows and we're better off in their make-believe Sprint-land, where all of our parents turn into Kevin Durant.

But, in an apparent effort to put the UK in the mix for countries with CEOs who say really dumb things, mobile operator EE's chief guy of stuff has come out with his own assessment of why their data caps are fine and unlimited plans are unnecessary.

EE is the first mobile operator in the UK to offer 4G services. When it launched last October, it was criticised for imposing tight data caps - including a 500MB plan that could be chewed through in five minutes at the network's maximum speed.

Speaking at MWC 2013, [Olaf] Swantee said that on average users are actually getting through only 1.4GB a month. "It shows that the instinct for unlimited data plans is unnecessary," he said.
Now, on the off chance that you've spent the past week doing massive amounts of peyote, let me take a moment to explain why this kind of logic is so abysmal that it might actually be responsible for global warming. Olaf says that unlimited data plans are not in demand because their customers, who are already under their strict caps, on average use about 1.5GB per month. The logic is flawless...and by flawless, I mean backwards and evil. Of course EE customers that are under strict caps are going to do everything possible to stay under those caps. You're charging them extra if they go over! The very sample you're using in your justification nullifies your entire point.

Let's see...an appropriate analogy. Ah, got it! A dog owner buys one of those electric fence collars for Fido, puts the barrier around a twelve-foot squared kitchen, and then insists that the dog doesn't want to leave the kitchen because it rarely chooses to get the piss shocked out of it by stepping over the barrier. If someone tried to use that kind of sophistry on you, how long before you'd shove a couple of pencils in your ears to make the bad man's voice stop hurting you so?

So way to go, United Kingdom. You're officially accepted into the Dumb CEO League of Extraordinary Un-Logic. Play nice now.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    No, no...

    The real logic is this...

    You get a group of people together who are allergic to peanuts and then serve them peanut butter-chocolate pie.

    Since none of them eat it, obviously no one wants such a pie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: No, no...

    +insightful and +funny

    What amuses me is that I have a 2Gb plan and I never go beyond 1,5Gb because I use 3Gwatchdog (pun not intended with article example) to track my consumption and when I get to 1,5Gb I start controlling very closely what I do with my phone in order to have spare bandwidth to use it in case of some greater need. I'd probably spend much more than 5Gb in some months if I had an unlimited plan or if my plan had higher caps.

    So yes, the guy is a moron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: No, no...

    Huh, that really works well too....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    kog999, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    "Swantee said that on average users are actually getting through only 1.4GB a month"

    Since the average user is only using 1.4GB a month it follows that there is no reason not to give users an unlimited plan since they only use 1.4GB a month anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re: No, no...

    LOL !
    More like you get a bunch of people and put them in a room with precious diamonds.
    Then you watch them all fight over them till you get a few Bigger Individuals who grab the Diamonds.
    Then they all talk about how much they can sell the diamonds and come up with "Let us cut them into little pieces and charge even more money per piece" and they go on and on.
    Sucking the life out of the Mass Consumer..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    "So way to go, United Kingdom"

    You mean, way to go incumbent mobile operator, owned by multinational conglomerates (EE is the company formed by the merger of the UK businesses of Orange and T-Mobile). So, business as normal.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    Our Office's bathrooms are almost always empty despite the fact that most of our employees work 12 hours shifts, so our employees must not need or want a bathroom. That means we can just uninstall the plumbing and throw a more desks and people in the bathrooms.

    Sounds as reasonable as their logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    They're just getting ahead of the curve.

    Also, this conflicts with Techdirt's notion of "selling scarcity". -- Like the rest here, not a new idea, either. -- Look, they're GIVING you FREE USE of their equipment and selling the scarcity of bandwidth, yet you STILL complain.

    And don't forget the universal fix: if you don't want the service, don't buy it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:04am

    Of course they don't you have forced data caps. They don't want to have heavy expenses because you want to cap the data.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:09am

    Search your feelings...

    The tard is strong with this one.

    (directed at Olaf, not you, Tim)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    slick8086, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    This is like the cheating girl friend.


    Cheating girlfriend:"It was only sex, it didn't mean anything"

    Boyfriend: "If it didn't mean anything then why did you fuck do it?"


    Capped Carrier: "No one ever uses more than X data so unlimited is not necessary"

    Angry customer: "If no one ever uses more than X data, then why are you putting limits on it?"

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    TrustAvidity, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Not only is it a valid point people are making that there's no reason to limit the data if the average person doesn't use that much as the company is claiming, but according to that logic, they're turning down free money. When they use this excuse to not have unlimited data, all I hear is "We could offer this service people are willing to pay us for without the costs of them actually using said service but we prefer to turn away free money." An abundance of people utilizing unlimited data would be a much better argument for them to be rid of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    TrustAvidity, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Not only is it a valid point people are making that there's no reason to limit the data if the average person doesn't use that much as the company is claiming, but according to that logic, they're turning down free money. When they use this excuse to not have unlimited data, all I hear is "We could offer this service people are willing to pay us for without the costs of them actually using said service but we prefer to turn away free money." An abundance of people utilizing unlimited data would be a much better argument for them to be rid of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    TrustAvidity, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:35am

    Not only is it a valid point people are making that there's no reason to limit the data if the average person doesn't use that much as the company is claiming, but according to that logic, they're turning down free money. When they use this excuse to not have unlimited data, all I hear is "We could offer this service people are willing to pay us for without the costs of them actually using said service but we prefer to turn away free money." An abundance of people utilizing unlimited data would be a much better argument for them to be rid of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:39am

    Re: No, no...

    It would also be logical to state that these people don't like chocolate because they aren't eating it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    The number zero and the number one are not scarce.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Thanks for the explanation

    "Now, on the off chance that you've spent the past week doing massive amounts of peyote,"

    Oddly enough...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    alastair, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Busness Logic

    We were moving to new premises and each office was designated to have a whiteboard installed. On moving it was then noticed that the pens had been forgotten and a request was sent to the stationary manager to put in a stock order.

    Several months went by and in a head if departments meeting the question was raised why the pens hadnít turned up yet. The stationary manager said' I cancelled that order as an unnecessary expense 'cos on looking round the building I noticed that no-one was using the whiteboards'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Greg (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re:

    Yes, this argument actually makes much more sense when used in reverse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    Artificial scarcity...that's what we're talking about. Plus, they don't give me free use of their equipment...if I bring my own phone and add it to their network with voice only (no bandwidth requirement) they aren't giving it to me for free.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Stephen, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Sprint has unlimited data for PHONES. The only cap they have is for mobile hotspots. Of all the companies to try and trash about limits, Sprint's limit is the most reasonable. After reading that, I stopped reading because I can't be bothered with reading trash.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Colin, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    That was my thought too - if people only use 1.4GB, why have any caps at all since they obviously won't go over it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: No, no...

    If you carry a laptop, look at their pay as you go dongles. In he UK, if you go past the cap they block downloads, but leave web browsing and email enabled. They also come with linux support on the built in cd rom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    What you write makes no sense. The customer is paying mostly for the backhaul ISP costs and very little for everything else. The real cost is therefore on keeping the customers with sufficient maximum capacity (the equipment!)and not peanuts like usage-cost!
    The only reasonable argument for usage costs are trying to control users behaviour so the ISPs usage become more equally distributed throughout the day, the week and the year. A flat unconditional $x per GB is not gonna do beep in that context!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    What if your phone is a mobile hotspot?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    Pencils? Pencils?

    If some bad man tried to use that kind of "sophistry" on me, I don't think that it would be my ears that I shoved pencils into. In fact it wouldn't be ears that received the pointy ends of the pencils at all. And, come to think of it, I would probably be inclined to use a more appropriate tool than pencils. Also, it seems likely that the "bad man" in this little vignette is the one who has been making (inappropriate) use of peyote, or perhaps crack, and on company time too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 9:54am

    this twat has obviously been taking thinking lessons from a friggin' moron! about par for the course of top UK business execs! look at who's in charge of the country atm and then look at who has aspirations of stepping into the shoes once worn by Thatcher (useless bitch!). will be going from a disaster to a greater disaster!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    I think it might be time for a new CEO...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    He must hang out with the TWC guy who said since no one wants to pay for our overpriced highspeed plans no one wants highspeed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    Sprint has unlimited data for PHONES. The only cap they have is for mobile hotspots.

    Actually, they have data caps for everything except phones, and only for data used on the phone itself. This includes tethering, tablets, and other devices.

    Also, if you'd actually bothered to read the linked article, it talks about mobile hotspots and how, while being advertised as unlimited, they changed the policy on their customers without warning or recourse.

    "After that, I stopped reading because I can't be bothered with basic reading comprehension."

    FTFY.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:13am

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    Do you have a different definition of free then the rest of the world?
    I do agree with your universal fix, I donít want your service and I donít buy what you say!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Devils_Advocate (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:20am

    Unlimited Logic

    Scientist logging a lab experiment...

    Summary: Frog placed at starting line, and prompted to jump by sounding an airhorn. A condition is changed and test repeated. Resulting distances are recorded.

    Jump 1: Frog with 4 legs jumps 20 feet.
    (1 Leg is removed.)
    Jump 2: Frog with 3 legs jumps 2 feet.
    (1 Leg is removed.)
    Jump 3: Frog with 2 legs jumps 3 inches.
    (1 Leg is removed.)
    Jump 4: Frog with 1 leg jumps 1/8 of an inch.
    (1 Leg is removed.)
    (Airhorn sounds repeatedly, with no response.)
    Jump 5: Frog with no legs is DEAF!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    Wha...? Please stop talking about technology you don't understand. Seriously.

    First of all, bandwidth is an artificial scarcity because we have a large amount of spectrum being locked away for legacy technology or military use (most of which is unused). If we stopped broadcasting terribly ineffecient analog TV channels and radio stations and replaced them with digital versions we could dramatically increase the amount of currently available bandwidth.

    Second, we're already developing technologies that will further increase our bandwidth. Read about "twisting" radio waves to allow for multiple signals to be transmitted on the same spectrum. We can also further improve the amount of data transmitted through the air by utilizing higher resolution detection systems or systems that cancel "noise" by analyzing reflected waves in metropolitan areas. And this is ignoring technological improvements we haven't already started working on or that are not yet known too the public.

    The "bandwidth crisis" is just as much of a myth as the "fuel crisis." We're not going to run out of bandwidth just as we aren't going to run out of gas...by the time prices start increasing high enough to be prohibitive to the average consumer, the market will develop an alternative that is affordable. And the prices are already far above the standard market value due to the natural monopolies (cell carriers) which are government sanctioned.

    Never mind. Go back to talking about piracy and stealing, at least with your morality plays there aren't any facts that can contradict you. Discussing technology is obviously outside your comfort zone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    izzitme101, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Let em carry on, hopefully it wont be to long until they'r nothing nowhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:34am

    Re: Unlimited Logic

    That poor frog. :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:45am

    "We don't need to build a bridge here. We've been sitting here all day and haven't seen a single vehicle try to cross the river."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    arahman81 (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:52am

    Looks like someone's taking leaves out of the Canadian telco's books.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    crashsuit (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Sure, people in 3rd-world countries SAY they're starving, but how much more food could they want if they barely eat anything as it is?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Devils_Advocate (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Bridge

    That one's definitely the winner! (And certainly not as cruel as my frog experiment.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: No, no...

    In he UK, if you go past the cap they block downloads, but leave web browsing and email enabled.

    It's all downloads*... what do they do, block everything not on ports 80 and 443, or via SMTP? That wouldn't prevent enormous downloads. Do they only allow certain file types and block email attachments? I'm curious about this implementation though I understand if you don't know the details.

    * and uploads of course

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    After reading that, I stopped reading because I can't be bothered with reading

    I stopped reading your comment at this point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, no...

    They block mp3 and flv's etc.as far as I can tell. Not tried to upload as usual connection is GSM.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Kevin H (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re:

    There's a fee for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How can they tell you're doing it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Malthus will be right eventually. And congestion WILL be a problem.

    Apparently I need to switch to whatever cell provider you use because they don't charge you for use of their equipment. Mine charges $70/month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Re:

    I like the analogy, although I believe I would have the boyfriend be the cheater/carrier in this scenario, and the girlfriend be the scorned lover/customer.
    I say this simply because my wireless provider tends to make me feel like their bitch more than I would like.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    BigKeithO, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    I just recently had a Telus rep tell me that I didn't need a larger data plan because my number hasn't ever gone over the data cap... Amazing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 3:40pm

    500 MB cap with an average usage of 1.5GB.

    Has anyone read that and saw "RIPOFF" written all over the place?

    They know that most people use 1.5GB and they lower the caps so most people will be forced to pay, they basically are creating revenues from nothing at the expense of customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 6th, 2013 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    Has anyone read that and saw "RIPOFF" written all over the place?

    Perhaps, but I think not for the reason you're thinking. The 500MB cap is only for their lowest plan. On that plan they say the customers are averaging 380MB per month.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The easiest way is to have an "audit" program monitor all activity on the device.

    https://doc.opensuse.org/products/draft/SLES/SLE-audit-quick_sd_draft/

    Also there are ways to see everything the system does for security purposes which can be abused to send information on what the device is doing(i.e. TOMOYO, SELinux, AppArmor, etc).

    The easiest one to understand is TOMOYO probably, it watches everything the system does and can tell what accessed what and when, it is great for debugging but also for snooping.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOMOYO_Linux
    http://tomoyo.sourceforge.jp/2.5/android-arm. html.en

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    No 4K videos on Youtube for the UK.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    mischab1, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    You usage always changes based on your limits. A month ago I would have said I'll never use 2 GB on my cell phone. But when I thought my data plan had become completely unlimited, I hit the 5 GB limit in 20 days just by watching youtube videos on my lunch break.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    warren crossing, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 6:47pm

    I have always been one for conspiracy theories, so here's one for why they don't want unlimited caps.

    First. OTT and VOIP, Choose a new voice provider and turn your carrier into a bitpipe.

    Second. Packet loss. Entire leg, TCP retransmits, at a percentage of your actual traffic. (Echos which turn into Feedback and cause massive network contention)

    But there is a solution, wearing a tinfoil hat, prevents both these problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    CN, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 4:43am

    Logic dictates that the caps are not needed then.

    Since the average user is only using 1.4GB a month it follows that there is no reason not to give users an unlimited plan since they only use 1.4GB a month anyway.

    Exactly what I was thinking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No, no...

    what do they do, block everything not on port 80 and 443

    Deep Packet Inspection? Probably.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 7th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: No, no...

    Blocking a port isn't considered deep packet inspection is it?

    a form of computer network packet filtering that examines the data part (and possibly also the header) of a packet as it passes an inspection point

    You don't have to inspect the packet data to know what port it's on. Not that I'm saying they would be unwilling to do so, just that there would be easier ways to accomplish their goal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    icon
    NovemberGold (profile), Mar 27th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Bad Information

    I was with you on this until you claim a cap on Sprints unlimited data of 5 GB. I am a long-time Sprint customer and a former Sprint employee. There is no data cap. I know this both from policy and practice. My wife consistently used 10-12 GB per month and there is never an issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 27th, 2013 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Bad Information

    I was with you on this until you claim a cap on Sprints unlimited data of 5 GB. I am a long-time Sprint customer and a former Sprint employee. There is no data cap.

    Isn't there a cap for tethering or something along those lines?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    NovemberGold (profile), Mar 27th, 2013 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re:

    That is the problem. The article makes it look like Sprint has limited data on phones. It should be much more clear if it wants to be quality journalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    NovemberGold (profile), Mar 27th, 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Bad Information

    Tethering is a separate fee. The unlimited data applies to the phone only. However, the article made it seem like Sprint does not have unlimited data on the phone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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