Sprint: Bastard Whoremongers From Hell

So I check my cell phone the other day and notice that there have been, like, 48,000 calls that I have apparently missed recently. I think, what the hell? — surely I would have known if people were calling! Right? — and start fiddling with the phone. It turns out that at some point in recent history the speaker on my phone suffered a kind of Grand Mal seizure; now, when someone calls, it rings, but in a kind of strangled high-pitched tone that only dogs can hear.

Useful, that.

Time to get a new phone. I’m a Sprint PCS customer, so I toodle over to their Web site to see what the options are (and to drool briefly over the Treo 650 before moving on to more reasonable options).

Because this is an unplanned purchase, I’m not looking to spend a lot of money. I don’t need an Inspector Gadget special anyway. Since every mobile carrier in the US subsidizes their phones, I figure I should be able to find something both decent and reasonably inexpensive.

However, I soon discover that Sprint’s handset subsidy contains a bit of a poison pill. You see, they will knock $150 off the price of a handset right at the point of purchase, with the activation of a new service plan — but only if that plan contains their PCS Vision add-on services, if the handset supports it. And these days they all do.

(In fact they appear to have exactly one phone that does not — probably to keep people like me from being able to claim that we are being completely railroaded into Vision. Never mind that this phone has about as much style as a Soviet business suit.)

Why is that a poison pill? Because it takes a $35/month cellphone bill and tacks on an extra $15/month for “services” that I’ll never use like video clips and screen savers. (Screen savers? On a freaking cell phone?)

So that’s the Hobson’s choice they stick you with — accept having your bill jacked up by 40% every month, waive the handset subsidy, or take the Uglo-phone 9000. And if you waive the handset subsidy even the most basic phones are $160 and up. Yuck.

But wait, there’s more!

For those of us who are already Sprint customers, they have a program called “New For You” to “reward” us for our loyalty. Anyone who’s had their current Sprint phone for 18 months or more is eligible. It works like this: You buy a new phone and service plan, and Sprint will give you an additional $150 rebate.

Not bad, right? Well, except that, just like for new customers, the rebate is only offered if your new plan contains Vision service for a Vision handset. So we’re back to the price-hike-versus-Uglophone dilemma. And, because they’re so thankful for our loyalty, the rebate is handled as a mail-in — and they claim it’ll take them 8-14 weeks to process it! So you’ve gotta front the $150 and then spend three months waiting for Sprint to pay it back. No f#@%ing thanks.

This whole experience has me profoundly soured on Sprint, though I’m sure the other carriers are just as bad. Anyone have recommendations for somewhere that I can get a good phone for a reasonable price without having my monthly bill larded down with crap I don’t need?


Oscar Merida

February 4, 2005
11:17 am

I just switched from sprint to t-mobile so I can get the bluetooth, Symbian OS Nokia 6600 for $50 after $100 rebate (of course) via letstalks.com. They ship the phone 2-day and it comes activated and ready to use, after charging the batter. I’ve been immensely pleased with the phone and service ( I have a $40/1000 minutes plan currently). Coverage is better than what I experienced with sprint around Alexandria. Since its bluetooth, it also syncs with my powerbook so my addressbook AND ical remote calendars and mirrored on my phone. Let me know if you’re interested, I can referer you and you get a $25 discount ( so you get the phone for < $30 after all ). If you take pictures and associate them with someone’s phone number, that is synchronized in my Address Book as well. I just sent in my rebate forms and will let you know how fast they are.


February 4, 2005
11:20 am

Yes, the whole railroading into sprint pcs was also why I switched from them. The variety of phones offered with sprint sucks, is quite limited, in my opinion. If you’re just shopping around, I can’t recommend the letstalk.com interface for checking out provider ( all sans sprint ) + phone + plan combos.


February 4, 2005
8:51 pm

Yeah, try Verizon if they’ve figured out there coverage issues out there. They have a “new every two” program. At 22 months into your 2-year contract, you can trade in your phone and re-sign up. I just got a new phone and accessory kit (case, earpiece, car charger) for $11 – total. It happened in the store; it took maybe 15 minutes.


February 5, 2005
10:47 pm

yeah, sprint is a pain in the ass.
In September, I needed a new phone, and what I needed to do was walk into the sprint pcs store in Pentagon Row and talked to an manager. It took an hour and a half to get to one, and I had to sneak around a couple of pissed off stupid sales people to do so, but I told the guy I wanted a phone, no cameras,internet, or other junk, and I wanted the rebate right away, and he was able to make it happen. Of course, I still had to buy one of the cheap phones that does not take pictures anyway…
so, if you don’t want to go through that crap, I heard t-mobile is good.


February 7, 2005
11:55 am

I used to be a Sprint user as well. I hope the creators of Sprint rot in hell, they are the devil incarnate. Ann told me how great Verizon was and I switched and have had no regrets. I have 400 minutes a month for $40 and unlimited talk time to other Verizon users, which for me is most of my friends. I am always under the minutes total for the month and usually average around 2000 minutes a month. My phone drops calls every now and then, but not anywhere near the frequency that Sprint dropped my calls. Checking your phone usage online with Verizon is great, because it is always posts correct information, including the time of your last call, so you can verify that the info is current. I paid about $150 for the phone and earpiece/car charger/etc. kit after the mail in rebate, which came quicker than they said it would, though I don’t recall how long it actually took.
The one time I called Verizon’s customer service they were able to assist me almost immediately, and I wasn’t bounced around to many other people in the phone bank the way that Sprint has a tendency to do.


August 6, 2006
10:09 pm

i have aciniger phone


August 6, 2006
10:09 pm

i have aciniger phone

huy thai

August 8, 2006
9:06 pm

it takes too friking long toget the rebate

Duff Hendrickson

November 25, 2009
2:58 am

Anyone thinking of getting an account with Sprint, beware.
You might think you are getting an account for $39.99 a month, but you’ll be shocked when you get a bill.
extra extra charges, fees, surtax, service fee this, etc…
And watch out for that 45cent a minute over-minutes charge.
Sprint does not care about keeping loyal customers. They rip you for the short term corporate profits. If you hate banks, you’ll hate Sprint. May they rot in bankruptsy court.