Diggin' technology every day

October 7, 2011

Sprint makes drastic changes

Filed under: Random Thought — Tags: — Nate @ 6:08 pm

I’ve been a Sprint customer for about 11 years now, never really had an issue, well I had a billing issue in 2005 I think which was annoying to deal with, but besides that for the most part no issues over the years.

Sprint was known to have bad customer service for a while – fortunately I rarely had to deal with them. Sprint, like T-mobile have been bleeding customers over recent years due to iPhone usage. Sprint of course jumped in head first with the new iPhone 4GS, not too surprising I guess, it is unfortunate that the market has come to that though.

Sprint has committed to buy at least 30.5 million iPhones, even though it would likely lose money on the deal until 2014, according to people familiar with the matter.

What is more surprising (to me at least) is today’s announcement that Sprint is going to more or less abandon WiMax and build out a LTE network. I haven’t looked into the nitty gritty details yet but it seems like a risky move after having invested all this in WiMax just to walk away and commit to spending $10+ billion to upgrade their existing network with LTE instead of enhancing WiMax even further, after all they are a majority shareholder of Clearwire, a company that has it’s HQ not far from where I used to live.

One reason Sprint seems to give for the switch is LTE will support more users – they expect to be able to support 250 million users by 2013 vs 120 million on WiMax. For a company with 52 million customers, building a network to support 250 million seems kind of excessive.

I understand that LTE is more of a standard and will be better supported but it’s still a huge loss to have invested all that in WiMax and not get enough out it to continue developing it. I see this article that mentions Sprint spending $2.5 billion on Wimax through the end of 2008.

What was most surprising to me, was not anything that hit the major headlines, Sprint is abandoning their customer loyalty program Sprint Premier. I got the letter in the mail about a week ago.

What is next? I think Sprint’s unlimited data plans will probably be the next to go. iPhone users use a lot of data, more than Sprint is expecting I think. Verizon killed their unlimited data plan just months after they got the iPhone. This probably won’t impact 4G WiMax service (at least as long as Sprint offers it) since iPhone users can’t use 4G it won’t kill that network.

I recently switched off of Sprint for cell phone service onto AT&T so I could use my new GSM Pre3 handsets. I’m still a Sprint customer with my 3G/4G Mifi at least until my contract is up next year.

I hope Sprint recovers, we really need them to stick around.

Sad times.

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