Telephone companies are going out with the old by leaving phone operators and directories in the past.
- AT&T is doing away with the 411 and operator services for landline customers in 21 states.
- This announcement comes a year after the telephone company stopped the services to cell phones.
- The changes are set to go into effect on January 1—leaving operators and directories a memory.
Why it’s news
Before the time of Google and other internet services, many people relied on phone operators and 411 calls to help them find phone numbers and place certain calls.
All people had to do was dial 0 and they could talk to a phone operator who would transfer their call, answer questions, or help with any other information.
Now that Google and other services are easily accessible it has phased out phone operators.
The peak time for phone operators was around 1940 when AT&T had more than 350,000 phone operators—now there are only around 550 operators in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Telephone operators have been phased out for many years and now AT&T is closing one of the final gaps by stopping operator and director services for digital landlines starting January 1 in 21 states.
AT&T and other companies stopped the services to cell phones leaving the services for only landlines until January.
“It’s becoming apparent that there’s not really a need,” says independent telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan. “It’s an older service that’s shrinking and dying, same as with traditional phone lines.”