Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thinking Of Upgrading Your Sprint Phone To A Smartphone? Think Hard!

Use Caution If You Are Considering Renewing Your Sprint Contract And Upgrading Your Device!

Having been with Sprint for over five years I speak from some experience as a customer. I become eligible to upgrade my device on August 01, 2012. I enjoy checking out the options available prior to the eligibility date and have been online for a couple of days "checking things out."
One of the options that will become available to me is to upgrade to asmartphone. In the past I have not had a smartphone. I have had the standard phones as well as what Sprint calls a "feature" phone, but not a smartphone.
With high expectations (which have now been shattered) I started looking around. I found numerous smartphones that would become available to me for free upon renewing my contract with Sprint for two years.
My first concern (there is a major second concern, so read to the end) is that I noticed that Sprint was offering to waive the activation fee, online, for a new phone for new customers or for existing customers that added a line. I read the fine print and found that this did not cover customers who have been loyal to Sprint over the years who were considering renewing their contract. In other words unless I am a new Sprint customer, or added an additional line I am going to be charged a $36.00 activation fee. Now this fee is for a number that is already activated, my current number. I have, in the past, activated my phone myself by going online, therefore, no Sprint employee had to be paid to do this.
I popped into the Sprint forums and have read hundreds of posts about this $36.00 activation fee and 99.9% were loyal Sprint customers who felt this fee is very unjust. Many have left Sprint for other providers due to this single issue. It seems that Sprint will not, under any circumstances, waive this $36.00 activation fee.
Losing so many customers over a gain of $36.00 does not seem to be a good business model at all. To gain $36.00 in revenue, they are losing vast numbers of customers who were paying into the hundreds of dollars a month for service with Sprint.
My decision on renewing a contract with Sprint just based on this first concern is leaning towards not renewing my contract and going elsewhere.
There is more, however! If you are looking to upgrade to a Sprint smartphone your monthly rates will go up an additional $10.00 per smartphone device you add to your plan. That is correct! This is even if you have one of the "unlimited" data plans currently with Sprint. Unlimited does not cover smartphones. The $10.00 a month charge is for data use and data use alone. Sprint justifies this additional charge because "on average" a smartphone user will use "up to" ten times more data a month. This leaves the current Sprint customer astonished that suddenly their "unlimited" plan has been deemed as limited in some way.
In the background, behind this window I am typing in, I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE phone up on the Sprint website. A great phone, a great smartphone. Retails on Sprint without a contract for $549.99. If you upgrade you can get it for free. All the best features are on this phone that one could hope for that I can see. This phone ships with the Android 4.0 OS as well. Great battery life for talking and standby. I could go on, however, suddenly this upgrade I was hoping to make is becoming an unreality. Should I go this route, my Sprint bill for two lines will go up with the additional one time activation fee as well as this new "data" usage fee monthly.
The information contained in this article is NOT on the Sprint webpage where you view the devices that Sprint offers for sale online. You have to wait and get into the "fine print" of your plan to see the additional charges that you will have should you choose, as an existing customer, to upgrade your device to a smartphone and upon renewing your two year contract. Even if you have a smartphone and upgrade, your bill will go up as stated.
Therefore, please do be aware of "hidden" charges that Sprint has become so well at squeezing into their contracts but not openly displayed or discussing on their website sales pages.