Update 10/18/2003: The original title of this review was "Not as bad as the others say", but I have now changed it because of a mind-bending experience with this uncaring wirelss carrier. They seem not to care about their customers at all and do nothing to retain us. I have been a customer with SprintPCS since 1998, about a year ago I gave my phone to my fiancee and she continued to use it and pay the bills. We have been good customers of SprintPCS, never a late payment and always within the plan guidelines.
I called the other day to see if I could get a plan that was as cost-effective and competitive as the T-Mobile plan that I currently have -- as a sort of "retention plan" to stay with SprintPCS. As much as I talked with the guy on the phone, he could do nothing except offer me the same amount of minutes for $10/mo more than what T-Mobile offers for the same. What? It's not that I was trying to ask for a lot, I just wanted something competitively priced with what I can get on the market since my contract was ending, but SprintPCS being the high-priced wireless carrier could not do it. Not even for a long time customer. So, my fiancee and I decided to look at other options and see if we could find something better.
We did find something better (it was not hard either), we found that we could get a FamilyTime deal with T-Mobile that was very cost-effective for our usage pattern -- we use the phones mostly to call each other. I really don't use any minutes to call anyone other than her since I have my work phone during the day. So she could have the pooled minutes of the FamilyTime plan and I would just use the phone for the free mobile-to-mobile calling. That was cost-effective and much cheaper than what we were paying for seperate plans.
We went to T-Mobile to look at phones and get the plan changed and we did. We got an excellent deal and the customer service rep was very friendly and helpful. So, after we did that I gave SprintPCS a call to cancel my service. Here's what is weird: My billing cycle starts on the 22nd of the month. The contract ends on October 24, 2003. I have never seen such weirdness, since when does a wireless contract start like that?
Anyways, when I called to cancel the account, the "retention plan" that was offered was an "emergency phone" plan that was $10/mo for 50 minutes. I have a place where SprintPCS can stick that emergency phone. I told the rep to just stop service after the agreement was fulfilled. She said she could not and if I did want that then I would be hit with a $150 early termination fee. Why? I asked and she said that because I was still in the billing cycle. Huh? Well, fine, I'll pay another $35/mo to finish off the month and be done with SprintPCS for good, it is better than paying that $150 early termination fee.
Would I recommend SprintPCS as a wireless carrier? No, not anymore. The review below is what I wrote about them two years ago when they still cared for their customers. Nowadays it looks like it is strictly business with them and they could care less if one is going to stay or not. If that is the case then there really is no reason to stick (or start) with SprintPCS when there are more carriers out there that offer better plans and coverage. For the same price you can get better coverage with Verizon , that is if you travel a lot for business. For the same price you can get more (minutes and better customer care) with T-Mobile if you are a regular user. Why pay more for SprintPCS when they don't offer anything more at a competitive price than their competitors. It is just not worth it.
I do not recommend SprintPCS anymore. They are a big company that really does not care about their customers. They are overpriced and undervalued. And because of that there is nothing to recommend, other than to go look at another carrier.
Below Is My Original Review That Is No Longer Valid. Kept Here As History To Show How SprintPCS Used To Be A Good Company. They No Longer Are.
I've been with SprintPCS for about 2 1/2 years now. The service, from a tech standpoint, has always been good -- especially for the price that I pay. There are somethings to keep in mind when considering SprintPCS and if you keep these things in mind, you'll love the service and the low prices of their plans.
First, if you are a person who needs a lot of hand holding and/or help, SprintPCS is not for you. Although I've had some good dealings with their customer service over the phone, there have been many times where I wanted to scream. If you need help during business hours it's really tough to get a hold of a SprintPCS rep. Otherwise it's a coin toss. This is one strike for SprintPCS -- the long hold times in order to get help. Once you do get help with someone, at least in my cases, you'll get someone who is helpful and courteous. The times that I had to deal with customer service, after I disregard some long hold times, I was well served by the customer service rep.
Second, you'll have to accept that there are places where SprintPCS does not have coverage. Now, if you use your phone in busy metropolitan areas, you'll be fine. But if you travel too far off the beaten path, then you'll have some trouble. I've used my phone all over the San Francisco Bay Area -- SF, Oakland, Alameda, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and especially North San Jose and Milpitas. All these places have great coverage. I've also used the phone while on business and I've gotten good coverage in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta and even in Bentonville, AR.
Third, you'll have to keep in mind that you'll be affected by large structures. When I go into the Great Mall here in Milpitas, I lose signal and don't regain it till I leave. At work I get good reception all through the building (I work in a rather large four story building). At SJSU I get decent reception.
Fourth, your mileage will vary depending on the hardware that you are using. My first SprintPCS phone was a Sony phone (identical to the original Qualcomm PCS phone). This Sony phone worked well, though it had a lot of trouble in doors. My second phone was a Samsung SCH-3500 and this phone worked great. The SCH-3500 got a good signal lock everytime. But I always experience a dead zone when I drove over the Tasman bridge over 880. I love my SCH-3500, but low and behold the earpiece died. My new phone, the Samsung SCH-8500 seems to get the best signal lock of the three phones and works even in that dead zone that I found. So pick carefully when you pick your equipment -- I would highly recommend any of the Samsung phones.
Now, if you're still with me, you're probably going to be getting SprintPCS. Let me tell you about the good things of this service. The prices, especially if you sign up for one of their Advantage plans, are great. Currently I'm paying $34.99 for 1250 minutes (250 anytime and 1000 nights and weekends). This is well worth the money because my girlfriend lives in New York and every single minute out of those 1250 minutes is considered free long distance. I just switched my plan to a more costly one, the $49.99 plan. This plan just ups the minutes that I get from 250 anytime to 450 anytime and from 1000 nights and weekends to 2550. The one drawback of the Advantage plan is that you'll have to sign up for a year contract with SprintPCS. The days of signing up for a month-to-month plan seem to be over since I cannot find any reference to a month-to-month plan anymore on their website.
Speaking of the SprintPCS website, I must say that it is one of the most useful websites for a service I've seen. When I switch my SCH-3500 phone over to the SCH-8500 phone I did not have to go through the headache that I suffered through when I switched from the Sony over to the SCH-3500 -- mainly that of waiting on the phone for someone to help me. This time around I logged into the website and in just a few clicks the new phone was activated and ready. The same procedure can be followed for new activation too. The website also lets you pay your bills online, check your minutes, switch plans, and all sorts of other things. This website is one great feature of the SprintPCS service.
Now, about the cool phones. SprintPCS seems to have some pretty cool phones. Yes, they don't have any Nokia phones, but the Samsungs and the Sanyos in the line up are some of the best phones around -- in style and substance. If you're a gadget geek, you'll love the new Samsung SPH-I300. This is a combination of a SprintPCS phone and a color PalmOS device. Very cool indeed. If you're cost conscious then you'll love the $99.99 Kyocera QCP-2035 (which looks to be almost the same as my old Sony phone). And if you just want something cool, then the SCH-8500 is one good way to go (it has all the regular features plus a built-in PIM for information management -- use www.FoneSync.com's software to connect to the phone for synchronization). Don't just look at these phones though, there are a whole slew of great looking and useful phones available.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the SprintPCS service that I have -- that's why I've been a customer for over 2 years. I think that you'll have to have a somewhat thicker skin if you want this service though because there are times when you'll be frustrated with SprintPCS, but overall I would recommend SprintPCS. They have good service, great prices, and some cool equipment. What else could you ask for?
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