What’s Good for a Business Can Be Hard on Friends

A month ago, Brandy McDowell sat down with her longtime friend, Kezia Chandler, and told her she had switched cellphone carriers. Their relationship has not been the same since.Now, they barely speak. Ms. Chandler rushes Ms. McDowell off the phone when she calls during her lunch break. And long conversations about schoolwork and relationship woes have been reduced to sound bites.Maybe they should blame the cellphone carriers. The carriers, after all, set up plans that encourage subscribers to talk mainly to people in the same network. The companies say they are simply trying to recruit and retain customers.

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