According to financial analysts, Sprint may report their biggest subscriber loss period ever in the coming weeks. As many as 879,000 subscribers may have jumped the Sprint ship in the second quarter.
This loss, while very large, may be due to Sprint trying to better serve their customers in the future. With the dominance of the LTE standard, CDMA carriers like Sprint are having to re-haul their infrastructure to accommodate the new technology. While "new" is a relative term, Sprint is frantically trying to upgrade and their customers that are still using CDMA handsets are feeling the growing pains.
LTE service was built upon the GSM standard and companies like AT&T and T-Mobile were already equipped to handle the "Fourth Generation" of cell phone coverage. Sprint, on the other hand, gambled on the WiMax radios for their 4G service and, well, lost. My HTC Evo 3D was supposed to be the coolest phone ever with its futuristic two cameras that took stereoscopic 3D images and it was also one of the first phones to support the WiMax protocol. Within a couple of months I realized that the 3D capabilities had not only lost their lustre, but were giving me a headache as well. That headache was nowhere near as severe as the one I got from trying in vain to reap the benefits of their 4G network. Long story short — WiMax was a joke and faded away and LTE continues to not only thrive but advance itself with faster speeds and better coverage.
But not only is Sprint suffering while their network literally does a "rip and replace" style of upgrading their equipment, their pricing plans are also higher than those of their competitors. Paying more for a largely unreliable network also sounds like a recipe for burning almost a million members a month. However, Sprint is optimistic that once their network upgrades are complete, they expect to return to subscriber growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year.
Sprint is currently the only carrier that offers even new members (not ones who have been grandfathered in) an unlimited data package, so their small ($7 – $15 a month) inflated rate may be more valuable, and the talks of their merger with T-Mo are still going on, so there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Now Network. They just need to complete their rebuilding and hope that they can lure the million or so back once they're done.
How's your connection with Sprint and/or would their upgraded network be worth checking out?