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(The Consumerist)   You're the CEO of a major phone company and nearly half a million customers walk away. How do you explain it? Simple: you pull out your Pee Wee Herman Excuse Book and turn to page one   (consumerist.com) divider line 50
    More: Unlikely, CEO, phone company, 4G LTE, Sprint Nextel Corp., Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse  
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9183 clicks; posted to Business » on 26 Oct 2012 at 8:54 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-26 09:04:52 AM  
"It's much more economically beneficial for us to recapture iDEN customers at a lower cost per add than to acquire customers through usual channels," he explains.

Except it's magnitudes cheaper to keep existing customers than to capture new ones. I understand the need for retiring old/underutilized technologies, but there should have been a plan to transition these customers.
 
2012-10-26 09:10:56 AM  

GoldSpider: "It's much more economically beneficial for us to recapture iDEN customers at a lower cost per add than to acquire customers through usual channels," he explains.

Except it's magnitudes cheaper to keep existing customers than to capture new ones. I understand the need for retiring old/underutilized technologies, but there should have been a plan to transition these customers.


I'm sure they actually had a plan and tried to implement it. Problem is, they're Sprint.
 
2012-10-26 09:14:25 AM  

GoldSpider: "It's much more economically beneficial for us to recapture iDEN customers at a lower cost per add than to acquire customers through usual channels," he explains.

Except it's magnitudes cheaper to keep existing customers than to capture new ones. I understand the need for retiring old/underutilized technologies, but there should have been a plan to transition these customers.


Outside of telling them "this is what's happening, make preparations", which they did, what would you propose they do? It's not like you can simply send out an update to every device on the network to use new frequencies. Sometimes it's absolutely impossible to convince people to move on from antiquated technologies (see the move to DTV) and you just need to sever the finger to grow a new hand.
 
2012-10-26 09:15:39 AM  
Who the fark is Pew Wee Herman?

//Let he who never commits a typo cast the frist stone
 
2012-10-26 09:17:36 AM  

TheSwizz: Sometimes it's absolutely impossible to convince people to move on from antiquated technologies (see the move to DTV) and you just need to sever the finger to grow a new hand.


You can if you make it financially advantageous for them to do so. A one or two year discounted plan contract could go a long way. But yes, there is a point where it's not viable to retain a certain number of customers. Half a million seems like a lot though.
 
2012-10-26 09:22:33 AM  
Semantics are the first recourse of the defeaten.
 
2012-10-26 09:24:11 AM  
And yes, I get that this is coming from Consumerist and their feaux outrage multiplier. :)
 
2012-10-26 09:31:12 AM  

GoldSpider: TheSwizz: Sometimes it's absolutely impossible to convince people to move on from antiquated technologies (see the move to DTV) and you just need to sever the finger to grow a new hand.

You can if you make it financially advantageous for them to do so. A one or two year discounted plan contract could go a long way. But yes, there is a point where it's not viable to retain a certain number of customers. Half a million seems like a lot though.


Half a million and they're only 30% done with the transition.

I agree and see the need for the change, but it does seem rather myopic to drop potentially 1 million or more customers when all is said and done to upgrade your services.

Then again, once these customers see that the competition is only marginally better, they'll come back as soon as they can get a good deal.
 
2012-10-26 09:32:16 AM  
Sounds like when the SF Chronicle lost most of their subscribers and the president of the paper claimed it was part of their "refocusing strategy." Because having lots of customers is being unfocused, I guess.
 
2012-10-26 09:32:33 AM  

JRaynor: Who the fark is Pew Wee Herman?


The guy who runs the Pew Research Center, duh!
 
2012-10-26 09:33:10 AM  
Sprint jams. Been happy with it since '96.

Who else would grandfather me in for two lines with unlimited data and 1500 landline minutes a month for $60? Riddle me that.
 
2012-10-26 09:48:16 AM  

matthew_m_g: Then again, once these customers see that the competition is only marginally better, they'll come back as soon as they can get a good deal.


THAT.

Pay more for the same service/coverage (though maybe my "4G" speeds are slower - THE HORROR), with the added threats of capping, throttling and overages? No thanks.

// now if only I could upgrade my phone (Galaxy S) for free before June...
 
2012-10-26 09:49:36 AM  
I had a iDEN phone (Still do actually) through one of their many pre-paid services (boost, Virgin Mobile, et al). i think part of this decision was to close a back-door in the phone that accesses the data network without charging the customer for the 2G data access (28.8kbps dial-up speed). pretty much buy a minimum amount prepaid card thats balance is good for 3 months and make sure to keep 10 cents on it and use 3rd party java browser (jar,jad file type). going to miss free mobile data but hey was going to happen eventually.
 
2012-10-26 10:10:12 AM  
I will never even consider Sprint again. Their customer service had me on the verge of a mental breakdown before. It was at the point where I was recording customer service calls to prove to (future) reps that I had already had this conversation with other reps. They all promised me that the extra $200 on my bill was a mistake....and they all promised to fix it and none of them ever did. Letters from collections etc for 6 months and call after call to them.

The most aggravating customer service experience I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing in my life. Every call was 6 transfers here and there. People claiming to be "supervisors" who assured me that I'd never see the charge again.

F Sprint w a comically gigantic spiked demon-dildo for all eternity.
That's what I say.
 
2012-10-26 10:13:35 AM  
Well, the author of the article is implying correlation is causation.
I'd bet there's a significant number of folks leaving Sprint because of it's saturated 3G and pitiful 4G LTE networks. Heck, it may be due to that more so than the sunset of 2G.

I'm someone on the fence. I was one of those folks who bought into the WiMax hype and bought one of the first HTC EVO 4G phones. Now, I've had it for two and a half years. I never had the 4G coverage in my area, yet i still paid the $10 premium for it. I could get another HTC LTE phone right now, but why? It's the same story. I probably won't have LTE coverage for another 2 years.

I'd like to stay with Sprint. They offer decent coverage in my area for a low price. My bill has been $72 for the past 2.5 years. But I can't stand the 3G saturation. It feels like i'm on dial-up. Basically, when this phone dies, i will be switching over to AT&T. I'll get roughly the same service, but with LTE, for $80 a month.
...and forget Verizon. I've been a past customer of theirs twice. I fully believe they won't let anyone's cell bill be below $100. I've never seen such "creative billing" used as much as Verizon does.
 
2012-10-26 10:28:52 AM  
Yeah... had nothing to do with the bullshiat $10/month/line charge they've added to all smart phones (even when you might be in an unlimited plan from another one)
They screwed themsevels
 
2012-10-26 10:48:39 AM  
Once upon a time I had Sprint. Oh, it was my first cell phone and I had that piece of crap freebie for years, then I moved to Tyler, TX, and the coverage was spotty. Then I started having to go to Palestine TX on a regular basis. You might not know that location, it's roughly the epicenter of where the Colombia blew up, but it's alright for you not to know anything about the route from Tyler to Palestine.

It wasn't alright that Sprint didn't know anything about the area between Tyler and Palestine.

That being said, I've heard from someone who switched to Sprint in the Plano area. It's the farking Cellecom Prairie and Sprint can't make a decent service.
 
2012-10-26 10:55:23 AM  
I love Sprint, or should say, love that I'm still paying $28/mon for Virgin Mobile.. which will soon be $39/mon when I have to switch phones and lose my plan, which I'm OK with so I can have my unlimited sexts.
 
2012-10-26 11:19:40 AM  

MattMillerTime: Sprint jams. Been happy with it since '96.

Who else would grandfather me in for two lines with unlimited data and 1500 landline minutes a month for $60? Riddle me that.


I thought I had a good plan from years ago but that has me beat.
 
2012-10-26 11:20:39 AM  
I'm one of that number, but I didn't leave Sprint because of the 2G shuttering. They just have really shiatty service in my area.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-10-26 11:34:37 AM  
Well, if you make 11.9 million /yr. by convincing shareholders that you know what you are doing, you had better have some BS ready.
 
2012-10-26 11:39:04 AM  

ChrisDe: MattMillerTime: Sprint jams. Been happy with it since '96.

Who else would grandfather me in for two lines with unlimited data and 1500 landline minutes a month for $60? Riddle me that.

I thought I had a good plan from years ago but that has me beat.


Also, word of advise to anyone out there....If you don't have it set up as a business phone already, DO IT! Lightning Fast Customer service and they replace phones for free like its going out of style. Just an FYI.

Love all you!

Love,

@MattMillerTime
 
2012-10-26 11:39:05 AM  
whats with all the consumertard greenlites over the past few days?????

please stop.
 
2012-10-26 11:50:55 AM  

wildcardjack: Once upon a time I had Sprint. Oh, it was my first cell phone and I had that piece of crap freebie for years, then I moved to Tyler, TX, and the coverage was spotty. Then I started having to go to Palestine TX on a regular basis. You might not know that location, it's roughly the epicenter of where the Colombia blew up, but it's alright for you not to know anything about the route from Tyler to Palestine.

It wasn't alright that Sprint didn't know anything about the area between Tyler and Palestine.

That being said, I've heard from someone who switched to Sprint in the Plano area. It's the farking Cellecom Prairie and Sprint can't make a decent service.


I switched from ATT to Sprint at the advice of my friend. He gets excellent reception in the Richardson/McKinney area. Meanwhile, I live inside 610 in Houston and barely get any signal. I can't even get 4G most of the time. God forbid there's a Texans game and I'm home. I just don't get any signal and can't connect a call. Definitely leaving them come May.

/So glad they put passing lanes between Palestine and Jacksonville. Especially when I was going to Waco 2-3x/mo.
//Or do you drive direct from Tyler through Frankston?
//Guess where I grew up
 
2012-10-26 01:00:49 PM  

tbhouston: whats with all the consumertard greenlites over the past few days?????
please stop.

 
1-media-cdn.foolz.us
 
memedepot.com
 
2012-10-26 02:52:18 PM  
4 years ago called, said pictures aren't relevant anymore and to try harder
 
2012-10-26 03:32:54 PM  

tbhouston: 4 years ago called, said pictures aren't relevant anymore and to try harder


tnation.t-nation.com
 
2012-10-26 04:09:38 PM  

SuperSeriousMan: tbhouston: whats with all the consumertard greenlites over the past few days?????
please stop.
 
[1-media-cdn.foolz.us image 680x473]
 
[memedepot.com image 413x413]


Nobody likes Consumerist.
 
2012-10-26 04:25:02 PM  
I realized it was dumb to spend what Sprint was charging me for unlimited data when I'd rather use anything besides a tiny phone to use the Internet. Now I'm on Boost for half price.
 
2012-10-26 05:09:41 PM  
I just want spring to fix their farking service for the iPhone 5 in Orlando. My previous phone had better signal and data rates, i switch to the iphone 5, boom it sucks ass. And my friends with sprint iphone 5's are experiencing it too.
 
2012-10-26 05:16:54 PM  

NannyStatePark: I realized it was dumb to spend what Sprint was charging me for unlimited data when I'd rather use anything besides a tiny phone to use the Internet. Now I'm on Boost for half price.


But you're still using Sprint;-)
 
2012-10-26 06:24:08 PM  

drjekel_mrhyde: NannyStatePark: I realized it was dumb to spend what Sprint was charging me for unlimited data when I'd rather use anything besides a tiny phone to use the Internet. Now I'm on Boost for half price.

But you're still using Sprint;-)


Shhhh. Just let him have his little victory.
 
zez
2012-10-26 06:52:11 PM  

poughdrew: I love Sprint, or should say, love that I'm still paying $28/mon for Virgin Mobile.. which will soon be $39/mon when I have to switch phones and lose my plan, which I'm OK with so I can have my unlimited sexts.


I'm grandfathered in at $25/mo with VM and I've switched phones many times. As long as you don't miss a month of payment you should be good.

/40 dollar craigslist Optimus V FTW
 
2012-10-26 08:32:29 PM  

almandot: I just want spring to fix their farking service for the iPhone 5 in Orlando. My previous phone had better signal and data rates, i switch to the iphone 5, boom it sucks ass. And my friends with sprint iphone 5's are experiencing it too.


Maybe it's not Sprint that's the problem. Maybe it's the iPhone 5.

/forest?
//trees?
///hello?
 
2012-10-26 08:52:17 PM  

ExpressPork: I will never even consider Sprint again. Their customer service had me on the verge of a mental breakdown before. It was at the point where I was recording customer service calls to prove to (future) reps that I had already had this conversation with other reps. They all promised me that the extra $200 on my bill was a mistake....and they all promised to fix it and none of them ever did. Letters from collections etc for 6 months and call after call to them.

The most aggravating customer service experience I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing in my life. Every call was 6 transfers here and there. People claiming to be "supervisors" who assured me that I'd never see the charge again.

F Sprint w a comically gigantic spiked demon-dildo for all eternity.
That's what I say.


they were screwing with you on purpose. they know when you call, how long you called for, who you spoke to, the whole nine yards. wife has this problem with her friends n family plan. every farking month.yes, she is looking to leave their service now.
 
2012-10-26 08:56:31 PM  
Came here for movie theater jokes, leaving unsatisfied

/Ha, I said "came"
 
2012-10-26 08:57:38 PM  

MattMillerTime: Sprint jams. Been happy with it since '96.

Who else would grandfather me in for two lines with unlimited data and 1500 landline minutes a month for $60? Riddle me that.


Live near a major interstate or in the city?
Sprint doesn't work in the sticks.
 
2012-10-26 09:23:02 PM  
25.media.tumblr.com

Obscure?
 
2012-10-26 10:13:00 PM  
I just switched to Sprint last week and having no problems. In fact today is my last day of my contract with VZW, and I'm going into the Sprint store tomorrow to port my number over. I switched because I needed a new phone and wanted to kep unlimited data. My over 2 year old Droid X barely works anymore and I'm NOT paying full price for a phone to keep unlimited data. just sucks that Sprint 4G roll out in my area won't be totally complete till Q2 next year. But I can't complain too much for getting a Galaxy S3 for 99.99

/was with Sprint from '01 to '05 and their service is a hell of a lot better now than it was then
 
2012-10-26 10:28:48 PM  
I know you are but what am I...?
 
2012-10-27 01:52:03 AM  
Losing 500k customers in a quarter is actually normal for Sprint. No, seriously, it is.

So not only have they shed customers - especially the contracted customers which are actually profitable, but they have been losing tens of billions of dollars. They average about a billion dollar LOSS every quarter and haven't shown an actual profit since before the merger in 2004.

Now lets look at their financials...
2011 Q4 - $1303M loss
2012 Q1 - $863M loss
2012 Q2 - $1374M loss
2012 Q3 - $767M loss

So in the last 12 months Hesse and the dipshiats at Sprint have lost over $4.3 billion dollars - underwritten by the dumbest shareholders on earth.

So they commit economic suicide undercharging for their services and they STILL can't keep their customers. There isn't a FAIL tag big enough for Sprint.

Now lets look at shareholder value. They are 80% off of their peak in 2005. Over $53B in shareholder value has been obliterated by these jackassses.

I have no idea what Softbank has planed. They are kind of stuck. All of their remaining customers are cheapskates or prepaid.
 
2012-10-27 08:00:08 AM  
I'm kind of weirded out by the deadzone in my house. It's not the whole house. It's not even a large part of the house, but I have a dead zone right by the front door. Other than that, I'm good.

/It's probably the metal door that makes it a dead zone.
 
2012-10-27 12:27:04 PM  
I'd go with Sprint service too if I enjoyed never getting any signal in a major metropolitan area. Free roaming and unlimited data = "compensation for the fact that the government won't let us expand our infrastructure despite being one of the oldest phone companies in the U.S. because of 'anti'-monopoly laws that only serve to stifle competition and reestablish the Baby Bells as a federally sanctioned trust".
 
2012-10-27 04:03:12 PM  

ExpressPork: I will never even consider Sprint again. Their customer service had me on the verge of a mental breakdown before. It was at the point where I was recording customer service calls to prove to (future) reps that I had already had this conversation with other reps. They all promised me that the extra $200 on my bill was a mistake....and they all promised to fix it and none of them ever did. Letters from collections etc for 6 months and call after call to them.

The most aggravating customer service experience I've ever had the misfortune of experiencing in my life. Every call was 6 transfers here and there. People claiming to be "supervisors" who assured me that I'd never see the charge again.

F Sprint w a comically gigantic spiked demon-dildo for all eternity.
That's what I say.


Your mistake was calling when you should have been putting it in writing, with backing documentation. It's a lot more official that way.
 
2012-10-27 09:20:49 PM  
It was just a downsizing.

Sprint got rid of all of those pesky customers.
 
2012-10-28 01:53:44 AM  
And while the rest of the world standardized on GSM more than 20 years ago, the US has wasted billions of capital on competing proprietary systems only to end up where? GSM, basically.

All that wasted time and effort for nothing when that capital and labor could have been working on something innovative and lasting.
 
2012-10-28 09:14:00 AM  

lohphat: All that wasted time and effort for nothing when that capital and labor could have been working on something innovative and lasting.


And without customer lock-in. There's the problem: the US carriers are mostly descendants of Lily' Tomlin's "We're the phone company, and we don't care" AT&T, and they desperately want to re-create that business model, as it guarantees profit without work. A standards based system with unlocked phones is anathema to them.
 
2012-10-28 11:57:07 AM  
This doesn't surprise me. The company I work for does some backhaul for Sprint's towers. They're NOC is clueless about everything we have to call them about. Sometimes it amazes me that sprint phones work at all.
 
2012-10-29 12:14:35 AM  

Kimpak: This doesn't surprise me. The company I work for does some backhaul for Sprint's towers. They're NOC is clueless about everything we have to call them about. Sometimes it amazes me that sprint phones work at all.


NOC's in general are clueless, yes there are a couple great tech's, but they get promoted fast so it leaves the bottom of the barrel manning the phones. Sprint even more so, because their entire operations department is outsourced to Ericsson which centered their NOC in mexico city, which would be fine if they didnt hire the dumbest people they could find. My company recently outsourced to Ericsson too for NOC and dealing with them can induce migrains as soon as they answer. I work in a datacenter running ericsson equipment and they are hired by ericsson, but call me multiple times a day because they have no clue what they are looking at.
 
2012-10-29 12:22:48 PM  
Some commentary from an iDen customer (the Nextel Direct Connect/walkie talkie thing):

1. First they told us (via both letter in Spring 2012 and a followup over Summer 2012) that we had until the Spring 2013 before iDen closed down. Then two weeks ago my Sprint rep emailed me and basically said: "So I hear you do have to the Spring of 2013, but starting 1 Jan 2013 we're going to have to charge some a bunch of extra fees for still being on iDen, so you want to get the hell off before the end of the year."

This pissed me off as I had been planning a post Xmas upgrade of the phones and my scheduling software. Which leads to point 2.

2. iDen was primarily used by contractors, delivery people and the like. With that dying a lot of us are looking at fielding smart phones that run an app that connects back to the home office for scheduling/paperless work orders/etc. I'd been happily taking my time to look at picking one, but now with this last minute fee thing I had to do a crash course on options and buy one.

The one I chose only works on iOS devices. Sprint doesn't have an iOS tablet currently (and they only have one Android tablet), so they're out. In addition Verizon has them beat on price in that they'll give me 12 iPhone 4S for 800 dollars and then charge me 600 dollars a month for unlimited talk and text, with a 20 GB shared data pool. If I go over they automatically just bill me for the next largest pool, no overages. Adding in iPads later is no issue and they'll just count against the pool. Sprint is currently charging me 40 dollars less per month for my iDen dumb phones (no texting and a minute cap). They want more than Verizon for a pool of iPhones. Verizon will also throw in remote device management whereas Sprint doesn't do that.

I'm not debating that Sprint isn't good on a personal level, but on the business side (which more iDen users are) this has been a giant clusterfark and left a lot of us unhappy with Sprint. That is why people are walking about, Sprint could price match Verizon and I'd still tell them to go fark themselves. You don't have me rep tell in August that as long as I'm upgraded by Feb I'm fine and then have him tell me in October that they'll start surcharging me in Jan.

Basically Sprint shut down their business network in a piss poor fashion and don't offer a good smart phone business option, so everyone is walking. All the contractors I talked to jumped to Verizon or AT&T because they beat Sprint on pricing and features.
 
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