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Dear Sprint

I am no longer interested in your service. Apparently, I'm not the only one, with hundreds of thousands of other users also not interested in your service. Why? Because you aren't delivering the features that I want in a cell provider. Let me explain.

Last night, my daughter, who is 9 months old, got a hold of my Palm Centro. As all babies do, she began exploring the phone by putting it in her mouth. As such, the slobber made its way into the case, and now my phone won't power on. So, it's in need of repair. I realize that it's not covered under warranty, so tomorrow, I'll be taking my phone to the nearest Sprint retail store to see what my options are.

Before taking the phone in, I was curious if I could forward my phone number to my wife's phone. This shouldn't be difficult, as I can easily do this with my Vonage line. I just login to my account, set the preference, and off I go. This is a great feature, should I be on vacation, or away from my house, but still want to receive calls to my house. However, as I logged in to the Sprint site, I could not find such a feature anywhere in my account. So, I took the opportunity to chat live with a representative.

So, I had a couple questions regarding forwarding my calls to my wife's cell, and the potential of purchasing a new phone, should the phone not be repairable, or the repair price is more than I'm willing to spend. First, the question about forwarding my cell calls. She asked if I had the phone with me, and if I could enter text in the phone. I told her no, that it won't even power on. She then proceeded to explain that unless I could type numbers in the phone, this option is not available. Even through the web interface.

Then, the next question I asked, is whether or not I could activate an unlocked phone should my Centro not get repaired. She told be this was not an option, as Sprint only activates Sprint CDMA locked phones. So, Google, you're out of luck with your Android based OS. OpenMoko, you too with the Neo Freerunner. Even if the phone is a triband CDMA phone, that works on their frequencies, it's a dead end. No activating unlocked phones with Sprint. This sucks, as I can purchase the phone I want, with the features I'm looking for, and easily hook it up to my Vonage line provided a gateway. After all, a phone is just that: a phone.

So, as it sits, I have 16 months left until the end of my contract. I think I'll pay the $200, cancel the contract, and move to a provider that meets the needs I want (with a bill about $100 / month, I'll still be saving a crap-load of money). It's apparent you have several issues on board, and you're obviously not interested in solving any of them, so I'm really not interested in being your customer.

Good luck on keeping the remaining few loyal customers. I'm sure you'll be dead soon.

{ 11 } Comments

  1. dontpay | August 11, 2008 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Don't pay to cancel the contract, let them know you are unable to obtain service anymore and since they can't abide by their side of the contract, you are not responsible for the cancellation fees. I've done that several times in the past with different providers.

  2. Russ | August 11, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Don't listen to customer service. They lie, especially on the side of you buying a new phone or extending the contract. Like when T-Mobile told me that I needed to buy a special faves enabled phone to support their fave-5 feature.

    I would just try moving the SIM card. Or find a really cheap unlocked GSM phone a craigslist.

  3. EtienneG | August 12, 2008 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    "Activating" an unlocked phone:

    1. Put SIM card into unlocked phone
    2. Power on unlocked phone
    3. Profit!

    Unless Sprint is doing something funny with their network, I see no reason why this would not work.

  4. EtienneG | August 12, 2008 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Ho wait ... Sprint network is CDMA. The above is GSM-specific. I think you are out-of-luck.

  5. mossholderm | August 12, 2008 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Yeah, Sprint is CDMA based, not GSM. You couldn't use OpenMoko, even if you wanted to. You would need to go with someone like T-Mobile or AT&T.

  6. J Wynia | August 12, 2008 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I've used unlocked phones on several services without a problem by just swapping the SIM cards. They've never needed any sort of activation. My current TMobile SIM card has worked in 5 different phones, only one of which was my "official" phone from TMobile. 3 of those phones were unlocked GSM and 1 was my wife's locked phone. Never once talked to TMobile about it and it always worked.

  7. Aaron | August 12, 2008 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    @mossholderm- Yes, you are correct. My error. Post updated. Sprint is CDMA, while T-Mobile and AT&T are GSM.

    @all- Sprint phones don't use SIM cards, so swapping out my SIM card from one phone to another doesn't exist. That is unique only to GSM-based services.

  8. Anonymous | August 12, 2008 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    >>2 @russ- You need the faves-enabled phone in order to set your 5-faves up *on the phone*.

    I'm defending T-Mobile because they've been exceptionally good to me. I called a couple months ago asking for help with my ppp options file on linux and they were able to give me the necessary voodoo. I was a Sprint customer for over 10 years before I become a T-Mobile customer- I had no idea how much better it was elsewhere.

  9. Richard | August 12, 2008 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I'm a verizon customer and I say that sprint is much better than verizon. With verizon not only do not let feature filled phones in (excluding smart phones that have higher plans) but they purposefully limit the phone's capability by putting their software on it.

    Also they have consistently ripped off their customer base. When I first signed up text overages were 10 cents a text then 15, and now 20 cents! they also recently switched to the new nationwide plan that charges your for all KB usage instead of using your minutes like they used to.

  10. Ropetin Again | August 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Just FYI, you can definitely get another Sprint phone, and transfer your current service into it. There are lots of them available online in all the usual places, used and (like) new. Basically you give the Sprint reps a couple of numbers found on the box or a sticker under the battery, and you're good to go. I have a lot of users who like to drop, mangle or otherwise destroy their phones, so I've done it more than once.

    Also, they can forward the number to another number for you, but last time I checked it was 25c a minute, or something equally silly.

  11. Dara Adib | August 13, 2008 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Yes, you can do that, but that would be a locked phone. Aaron Toponce wants to be able to buy an unlocked CDMA phone of his choice and use Sprint. According to the representative, this is not possible for some reason.

    "Even if the phone is a triband CDMA phone, that works on their frequencies, it’s a dead end. No activating unlocked phones with Sprint."

    @ Aaron Toponce
    What is the point of buying a CDMA locked phone? There are only two major CDMA carriers in the US--Sprint (not Nextel iDEN) and Verizon; the rest of the world uses GSM. I am not sure of the extra cost for an unlocked phone is justified by the ability to switch only to Verizon. If this was a GSM phone, that would be another story, though AT&T and T-Mobile are the only major GSM carriers in the US.

    Text messaging (SMS) in the US is a real rip-off. All of the carriers keep raising prices. I don't understand how a few bytes of transfer (160 7-bit characters max = 140 bytes max) costs 20 cents, while a voice call, which definitely uses a lot more bandwidth, are free during nights and weekends. Imagine if it cost over $1,500 per megabyte to transfer data. That is what text messages cost, assuming the message body is completely filled, which is rarely the case. Of course, I should mention that each text messages contains more than the 140 bytes (160 characters) in the message body like who sent it, to whom it was sent, transmitting tower ID, etc. But still, come on, this is ridiculous. Data plans should be used for text messaging; the price per message still would come out way cheaper. I'm sure people have done this for outgoing messages, but there is no way that I know of to do this for incoming text messages.

    I remember when I got my plan from AT&T Wireless (several years ago before AT&T Wireless was sold to Cingular and then regained by AT&T when it bought BellSouth), I got free incoming text messages (like Europeans) and 10 cents per outgoing text message. Now AT&T charges 20 cents for each outgoing OR incoming text messages. ??!!

    See the following Slashdot articles on the same topic.

    SMS 4x More Expensive Than Data From Hubble:

    The True Cost of SMS Messages:

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