Switching to Sprint - should I?
October 24, 2007 7:34 AM   Subscribe

My cell phone contract with Verizon is up and I'm thinking of switching to Sprint. Should I?

My contract with Verizon is up and I want to get a smartphone, Palm OS or Windows Mobile, but the thing that's always held me back is the price. I didnt want to spend $80-100 a month for a voice+data plan on Verizon.

I've been looking around at carriers and for the most part the deal is the same - pay a few hundred for the phone and then a $60+ monthly for the service. Then I find out about a)the Sprint SERO plan for $30/mo, which sounds great, and b)the Palm Centro is released. $100 (after rebate of course) and $30/monthly would work for me!

Sounds great, huh? The unknown for me is Sprint in general. I've only had Verizon (over 10 years) and have no problems with their service - where I live and work (southern Connecticut, New Haven area) I always have a great signal and no drops. I don't travel much, mostly between NYC and Boston or Cape Cod, but mainly I'm around the New Haven area.

Would I be ok with Sprint, in terms of voice (and data) coverage? Is there some sort of "catch" with SERO being so cheap and all? I've also heard about issues with Sprint's customer service. Is it really any differnent than Verizon's? I have had relatively few problems with Vzw's billing or customer service and rarely have to call them.

Put it this way, I'm happy with Verizon and I would stay with them if their smartphone/data plans were cheaper. but am I going to be unhappy with Sprint?
posted by pretzel to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've had sprint for something like 7 years and haven't had any problems in the southeast and midwest... I know nothing about their service in that area of the country.
posted by toomuchpete at 7:47 AM on October 24, 2007

I have a SERO plan but don't have a blackberry or palm. I will say that I've had zero trouble accessing the internet or with data transfer though and my phone works well.

They lack a lot in customer service (kindness, tact, intelligence) for sure but thankfully since I've had my SERO plan, I've only had to call once.
posted by heartquake at 7:48 AM on October 24, 2007

I had Sprint until recently, and was not particularly happy with their customer support. Earlier this summer I went to travel abroad and called to activate international roaming. I spent about two hours on the phone with them before they figured out that due to a change in their billing software I'd have to call back in a week to make the change.

Coverage-wise, no major complaints.
posted by justkevin at 7:54 AM on October 24, 2007

Have you called Verizon and told them you might switch? That may get you some discount.
posted by doorsfan at 7:56 AM on October 24, 2007

I'm in the middle of my 4th year with Sprint and my only real complaint is long hold-times when calling customer service. It's not that big a problem and I plan on re-upping when this contract expires.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:01 AM on October 24, 2007

Most of my friends who have Sprint aren't particularly happy with their coverage and customer service; none of them use data.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:06 AM on October 24, 2007

I live in NYC, and Verizon is far and away the best service provider I've come across. Unfortunately, you do have to pay up for the fact that you get service everywhere. I have heard good things about AT&T (Cingular) though, so that might be a good option as well.
posted by Grither at 8:08 AM on October 24, 2007

sprint coverage map
posted by Mach5 at 8:25 AM on October 24, 2007

Don't do it! I have been trying to switch to Sprint since last month. It's taken 30 days and they still haven't ported my number from my old provider. And it's still not done They lie and lie and lie, every call results in a new story (it's the other carrier's fault, you need a different phone, it's your fault, that number can't be ported, the system won't allow it, etc.). Attempts to elevate this issue have been met with more lies (there are no supervisors, I'm the only one here, we close at 5 pm, etc.). All with a constant drumbeat of we'll call this afternoon with more information and it'll be fixed in 24-48 hours.

They are incompetent liars. Stick with Verizon!
posted by OlderThanTOS at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2007

I've had Verizon for 5 years...no problems for the first 4. Then I went to get my new phone after 4 and it turned into a disasterous saga. Verizon is great all across the northeast service wise. If you have equipment problems or billing issues they are as bad as the rest (if not worse).

My friend has Sprint/Nextel, and has had some serious connectivity issues in Westchester and Connecticut.
posted by rocket_johnny at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2007

Sprint coverage is fine--this is less and less a relevant question with the proliferation of free voice and data roaming arrangements. It may not be the absolute best coverage (in NYC, Verizon) but it's almost certainly good enough for a lot less money.

Customer service is wretched but once things are working you shouldn't need to deal with them. There's no SERO catch--it's as good a deal as it looks.
posted by deeaytch at 8:31 AM on October 24, 2007

I too have the SERO plan and I love it. I've had it since April of this year. No problem with coverage in the entire bay area in CA. Traveled to New Hampshire and Las Vegas and didn't have any problems with coverage.

I've never had a problem with customer service. I emailed them when I first signed the contract and got them to throw in free txt messaging with the plan as well.

I don't have a smart phone, but use internet on my RAZR all the time, gmail mobile and google maps mobile, general browsing.

I've never had any strange fees or "catches" with the SERO plan.

(For those of you curious about the SERO plan from Sprint. If you don't know a Sprint employee, stop by a Sprint store and grab someone's business card. They use the format of firstname.lastname@sprint.com IIRC. It looks like the address of savings@sprintemi.com is working now, though.)
posted by Nerro at 8:38 AM on October 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

No catch with Sprint SERO. As far as customer support goes, I've had good luck just using the online contact form.
posted by zsazsa at 9:17 AM on October 24, 2007

My friends in Brookline, MA have sprint, and have very bad coverage in the town center. Brookline does not have many towers, so everyone's coverage is bad, but Sprint seems to be the wost, and is definitely worse than Verizon.

I have no idea about what SERO would mean.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 9:21 AM on October 24, 2007

I had a verizon wireless phone for six years before switching to SERO. I called vz before switching to see if they would match the price, they told me to go pound sand. I haven't noticed a difference in coverage in Northern California or when I'm traveling. Sprint support is horrible - just make sure you order the right package from the start and you'll be fine.
posted by foodgeek at 9:30 AM on October 24, 2007

Depending on where you go in and around New Haven, you might want to know that some people with Sprint have trouble with coverage even just up the road in Woodbridge. In the past I had a pay-as-you-go Sprint phone around here, and in general it worked fine.
posted by bassjump at 9:41 AM on October 24, 2007

I replaced my verizon phone with a treo from sprint about 2 years ago. I've found the sprint phone gets better reception overall and works in many rural areas the verizon did not. It's not just more coverage via roaming either -- other people's phones haven't worked in these areas.

I have been less pleased that the phone drops calls in my office, but this problem is not carrier-dependent. The phone rarely drops calls otherwise.

No problems with customer service, except that when you set up a password on their web site they will ask for and expect you to give this same password when you call on the phone. As in your password will be displayed in plaintext to the customer service agent, and you will be expected to say it outloud.

I've got internet on the phone, I'm not sure if it's the SERO plan or not. I always feel like it's slow, but it seems to be faster than some other phones.
posted by yohko at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2007

I've had Sprint since day one. Whenever I've had a problem I call "Account Services" (that's their latest name for the Retention department). They have all the power and can do things no other agent even knows about. Seriously. I never speak to anyone else.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:24 AM on October 24, 2007

I had Sprint for years and noticed that every time I was in an area that was even slightly rural/out of a populated area, I had no signal at all. I started comparing friends' phone reception in these areas, and found that those who had Verizon always seemed to have service. So I switched and it's been, for the most part, great. Unfortunately, I've recently moved to the edge of my (NOT rural, but on the ocean) town, and now I have little to no service.
posted by FlyByDay at 11:16 AM on October 24, 2007

I have been using Sprint for 8 years and really like it. After the Nextel merger, customer service got a little shakey, but not too bad. I also own the Centro and LOVE IT. (Long-time Palm owner, short-time Treo owner.)

The $10/month for unlimited data is what keeps my bf and I on Sprint. Poo poo on Verizon and their horrendeous charges.
posted by k8t at 11:41 AM on October 24, 2007

Another solid SERO recommendation. I've been with them for about a year now. Oregon/California coverage is good, and the data speeds have been enough for me. I've had five friends sign up, and they are all thrilled with it as well.
posted by monkeystronghold at 12:35 PM on October 24, 2007

I got my new Treo for free off of ebay a year ago (I almost thought it was a scam - but hey it came in the mail 2 days later). Sprint tends to drop my calls a LOT more often when I'm sitting in my apartment -something Verizon never did.

Other than that, I'm happy paying for unlimited data usage with Sprint that's still cheaper than my no-data usage with Verizon.
posted by yeti at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2007

Another subjective experience- Spring messes up a lot on the details, but when you call to complain, they fall over each other to fix it. I called once to complain that there was a funny click when my voice mail turned on (don't ask me why, but they fixed it) and they insisted on crediting me $10 for my next bill. A few months ago I messed up the plan I was on- it was my fault for not asking more specifically when I was offered a new plan, but I was outraged when I discovered that I had gone $85 over my monthly bill, all in 0.45/minute overage. They fixed it all.

So. . .if the rate plans look good, their customer service is (usually) good. And if you get a wacko, ask for a supervisor or to be transferred for immediate friendliness.
posted by arnicae at 9:22 PM on October 24, 2007

Response by poster: Sound good - thanks everyone for the info!
posted by pretzel at 11:48 AM on October 25, 2007

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