Judie: I have alluded in the past to the fact that Gear Diary Team emails can be quite entertaining as well as enlightening. Sometimes we talk about meaningless subjects – like the press release that came through today for NBA Jersey air fresheners. Other times, we talk about things that we aren’t ready to put into an article, but that are on our mind.
Today Wayne kicked off just such an email which many of us soon chimed in on, and I thought it would be fun to let you all peek in on some of the stuff we talk about behind the scenes. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea), and come join our conversation…
Is there any way that Sprint can remain independent? About the closest match now would seem to be Verizon who uses the same CDMA technology.
IMHO, aside from the technical problems, these guys really lost it with the Nextel acquisition. There simply was not any synergy between the technologies. They bought one of the most profitable niche players and literally destroyed them.
Now you could debate whether Nextel could stand along with their iDEN technology — but geez — $29 BILLION writedown….WOW
They did try to move me to Nextel (with new phones) when I called to cancel, they also offered me three months at half price…but three more months of dropped calls wasn’t even worth it for free.
Doug Goldring: It is more than just the technologies. There was never a synergy between the two companies. I mean, one of my closest friends is senior middle management there. And he said they still refer to the Sprint people and the Nextel people. They just never merged the two companies in a significant and meaningful way.
Meanwhile, I think Sprint pretty well ignored the Nextel side of things. They really should have merged the networks and gotten the push to talk on Sprint phones which never quite happened.
One main difference….it includes EVERYTHING. Maybe this might save them? Maybe not. If I were them I would try to get Verizon to work out a better roaming deal.
But if you live in an excellent coverage (no dropped calls / EVDO / Rev A / WiMax to be) area…hey, hey.
Columbus = NOT THE STICKS….i.e. coverage is pretty good.
Yeah, it is.
Wayne: The fatwallet and slickdeals forums have been abuzz for about a week with word of a $95 unlimited family plan — so if anyone is looking to join Sprint (unlikely) – take a look on Fatwallet first to read what people have been wrangling out of them.
I do not think unlimited plans will gain traction until their price is about $65 and they included SMS, MMS, High Speed Data.
By the end of the year I think we’ll find most of the carriers offering more reasonable unlimited plans. I just don’t think cellular phones will continue to demand the premium prices they were able to get in the past.
Just my .02
Doug G. – I think you are right, Wayne. I think carriers had too many places to nickel and dime you and they could see people were getting tired of it. A move had to happen sooner or later. I think 50-60 is about right for unlimited service.
Wayne: These price deals have been around forever. Most people won’t bite on the unlimited at $99 — all you’ll get are the corporate users who were paying more — so the carriers are just slicing their own wrists. The problem will be that the carrier’s can’t go any cheaper on unlimited or they get congestion and lost high profit corporate customers.
What you’ll probably see is more SERO like stuff — flat $ xx for decent (but not unlimited) minutes plus all you can use SMS and MMS and probably EVDO/3G so long as it isn’t tethered (which probably only a tiny percentage do anyhow)
It definitely appears that Sprint will either have to be bought or push out WIMAX ASAP,
My guess is that if WIMAX goes forward it will be with another carrier’s backing — can Sprint still have money to fund this? And if WIMAX was that ready – it would be out by now.
Here’s the Fatwallet thread (there’s a nearly duplicate one on slickdeals.net) that talks about other’s experience with obtaining a $95 unlimited family plan (it appears this has primarily happened via retentions department). I do not know (probably could find out if I had the patience to wade through all the thread chatter from fatwallet) if this includes unlimited MMS,SMS,DATA.
To me an unlimited family plan – IS hot news,
Honestly the $99 – $149 plans have been test marketed for quite some time ( I remember Nextel testing them probably a good 5 to 10 years ago) and I don’t think they’re that shocking or surprising.
Also be sure to check the fine print to see what (a) roaming is (if any)
If anyone is thinking of posting (I am not) – you may want to reference the thread below as it seems to include a code that at least some people are saying works — this MAY be regional though — so I would advise adding a huge YMMV to the post.
Joel: I’d bite! Family Plans w/o data are de rigeur. If I could get all of that for 99 bucks, I would have had the Blackberry Pearl instead of settling for a feature phone in my LG enV although I am really liking the handset.
Clinton: The Nextel debacle will ultimately nail the coffin of Sprint. They have been bleeding – no, hemorrhaging – since that merger with no end in sight. The frustration with Sprint is very deep for both individuals and corporate customers and barring them making radical technology and marketing changes, I don’t see them surviving.
NASCAR will be the AT&T Cup in a few years – trust me.
Chris Chamberlain: NASCAR = 80 and Teacup? Dang, Sprint is an awesome name for the series. Of course I still miss the days when it was the Winston Cup and some drivers used to actually smoke in their cars while they drove. David Pearson kept a small portion of his firewall uninsulated and exposed so he could light his cigarettes off it during races.
Wayne: Silicon Alley Insider has a great note from the Sprint earnings calls:8:29 Q&A begins. Update on QChat? In beta tests right now, rolling out commercially in Q2. 20 market level through the course of 2008 and growing quickly over time. Want to make sure it works before it goes wide.
QChat is what Sprint has been trying to get to replace Nextel’s Direct Connect.
Problem is that they’ve been promising it for, oh say the last 3 years? (or at least since the merger). And it’s perpetually “right around the corner” and “better than Direct Connect”.
One thing that I’ve learned from technology is that unanticipated delays usually are not indicators that the finished product will be better than expected. Rather they are indicators of problems.
Think about it — when a product is perpetually delayed (like say, um, Vista) — is the end result ever as good as what they promise.
Here’s the full Silicon Alley report on the Sprint earnings call — great site btw.
Doug M. – Ya know, for all the complaints that AT&T gets, I’ve been an AT&T customer for a long time (12 years? 15 years?), and I’ve really never had any major trouble except for spotty service in San Jose. But since *every* carrier had spotty service in the Bay Area (depending on who, and where you were), it was never a big deal. And their customer service people have always been *great* to me, doing things like saying, “You should get that online instead of from me; you’ll get a better deal.”
Honestly, I’ve always been fine with AT&T.
Clinton: Likewise here Doug. I’ve had my family on AT&T (or various versions thereof) since 1996 with very little trouble. I happen to have a T-Mo account for business but I absolutely hate their service.