November 25th, 2015
Dear Sprint –
Every calendar quarter, I visit your Newsroom website to see if there have been any announcements of upgrades to your network. On November 18th, 2015, Sprint announced its launch of the LTE Plus Network (which, for all intents and purposes, is a rebrand of Sprint Spark) in 77 U.S. markets. I am, what you would call, an extremely loyal customer – one that has personally poured over US$ 12,000 of revenue into your coffers over a span of 10 years for just MY own line (let alone the others that I have also paid for in the same time period – no less than 3 lines, and up to 5 at one time). Today, I read about how Sprint is still trying to lure new customers from the other networks by offering a 50% deal of what they are currently paying. However, what truly concerns me, and I can imagine most of the other “loyal” customers that you already have, are the deals you are not putting on the table for us.
First, let us look at the core of my frustration. I own a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which includes your Sprint Spark radios / technology (that should, under ideal conditions, perform very well on your “LTE Plus” network). As I sit in my upstairs bedroom, in a corner portion of my house that is approximately 6 feet from two different windows (1 facing East, the other facing South), I decide to first pull up the voice and data coverage maps directly from your website:
Therefore, it is reasonable for me to expect “Good” voice performance and “Fair” Spark (LTE Plus) / 4G LTE data performance. However, the “real world” test tells a different story:
For those reading this that aren’t technically savvy – my phone doesn’t even connect to Sprint’s LTE network AT ALL from anywhere in the top-most level of my home. I won’t even get into how dismal those performance numbers are – just know, it doesn’t get much worse than that on ANY carrier – in the world.
Now, just to be somewhat fair – there IS Sprint LTE coverage in many (if not, most) outdoor parts of the city. But as a consultant, most of my work is indoors – where Sprint’s signal significantly degrades in nearly every positional scenario I have encountered. Granted, ALL wireless carriers have the same issue, but none of their performance consistently degrades as EXPONENTIALLY as Sprint’s.
To be honest, if I did not own a Nokia Lumia 2520 that I use as a Verizon hotspot, I would have probably already ditched Sprint (like so many others fed up by their network have). To make matters worse, I have even tried Sprint’s various Airave microcell towers (Airvana’s and Samsung’s), all which are plagued with their own performance issues (riding on some of the fastest Internet you can get for a home in this market).
So Sprint – for all of us loyal customers who were even willing to pay $10 extra per month when you rolled out the Wimax smartphones, what is in it for us to stay? Your promotions seem fantastic for those people that have never tried Sprint’s network, and obviously haven’t read this article or the countless others that support what I have said. I am trying my hardest to believe that the Softbank partnership will strengthen Sprint’s network over the course of time – but how long do we loyalists have to wait?
People that know me personally know that I am one of the most patient people on this planet – often giving more than enough benefits of doubt. While I like the fact that I have a line with unlimited data, my perception of its value is dwindling underneath even below the 50% value of your competitors’ fixed-data bandwidth offerings. Having said that – for those of you reading this article that are considering the switch, all I can strongly suggest is that you completely utilize Sprint’s 28-day satisfaction policy, and make sure you test the network performance in every possible scenario that is realistic to your personal needs. Your tests should be within your living / work spaces; downtown; uptown; in a high rise; in a basement; near a major sports / entertainment event; in a hotel; on a school campus; I think you get the point.
I know there are quite a few people out there that are having great results on the Sprint network; but I do not believe MOST of its customers are experiencing the same degree of CONSISTENT high performance. Here is what my company’s Reputation Management systems are reporting (based on 5 minutes of collection / analysis effort):
- There were 79 Tweets with the words “hate” and “Sprint” on November 23rd, 2015 ALONE.
- Between November 15th-21st, 2015, and subtracting the 10 Sprint Care responses, there were 423 Tweets with the words “hate” and “Sprint” – that is just ONE calendar week.
- There are at least 87 Facebook pages containing the exact phrase, “I hate Sprint.”
- There are at least 403 Facebook pages containing the exact phrase, “Sprint sucks.”
Finally, here’s the bottom line for me. Sprint, I am going to give you until December, 2016 (the end of my last contract), to get your network right, once and for all. But we loyal customers are not going to just sit quietly by the wayside while you attempt to “bait-and-switch” new customers through deals – the “switch” being the lack of consistent network service.
We have paid too much and waited far too long enough. Fix it, or put your spectrum up for sale.
Who is with me?