First to Market or Half Cocked?

Sprint (headquartered, FYI, in Kansas City) has been advertising the bejeezus out of their 4G network. “The Now Network” or some such crap.

I had the misfortune of testing out a Sprint 4G aircard and here’s my review:

If you want to use the Internet more than 10 feet from a Sprint WiMax tower, or you plan to use your computer indoors at any point, you will not be able to get a 4G signal. If you want 3G with silly-slow download speeds with weirdly fast upload speeds, Sprint might just be for you. Not sure who uses 10 times the upstream bandwidth as downstream, but maybe you run a datacenter in your bedroom. Stranger things have happened.

Here’s a transcript from a phone call to Sprint tech support when I was trying to understand why I couldn’t get 4G anywhere that their map says I can:

Sprint Guy in India: Hello, my name is Kevin (said with a hard “e”), thank you for calling Sprint, how may I help you?

Me: Hi Kevin, I am trying to use a 4G aircard and I can’t get a signal.

Sprint Guy in India: Can I please have the zip code where you are right now?

Me: 66202

Sprint Guy in India: My map indicates you should have strong signal there.

Me: I have NO signal here. I have zero 4G and barely have 3G.

Sprint Guy in India: Are you indoors?

Me: Umm… yes. I typically work indoors.

Sprint Guy in India: Can you please go outside and try to connect?

Me: Ummm… ok, but even if that works I’m going to insist on using it indoors at some point.

*Incredipete walks outside and tries to connect, but there are zero bars of coverage still*

Me: I still have no signal.

Sprint Guy in India: I apologize for the inconvenience. Have you tried other parts of the city?

Me: Yes, I’ve been all over the city and I have yet to find any signal. Don’t you guys have your headquarters here in Kansas City?

Sprint Guy in India: Yes. I apologize for the inconvenience. Have you tried reinstalling the drivers?

Me: Yes. And I’ve reformatted the entire computer, and I’ve traded out aircards at the store, and I’ve tried standing next to your tower. I got an intermittent single bar of 4G when I parked next to the tower, but as soon as I moved my computer 3 inches, it disconnected.

Sprint Guy in India: I apologize for the inconvenience.

Me: You’re not going to be able to help me, are you?

Sprint Guy in India: I apologize for the inconvenience.

Me: I see that I’ve reached the end of your predetermined script. I’m going to hang up now.


Sprint decided to go with WiMax instead of LTE like everyone else. Their only competitive advantage was being first to market, but apparently they decided to start selling before they actually had a viable product. All they’ve done is alienate people.

That’s the Sprint I’ve always known! Way to be consistent!

  7 comments for “First to Market or Half Cocked?

  1. September 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

    OMG, I HATE when I get “I apologize for the inconvenience.” And yet, I just cannot seem to stop myself from saying “I don’t want your insincere scripted apologies, I just want it to WORK!” Sadly, this goes for just about every one of my utility companies and then some.

  2. NobleRot
    September 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Not sure where you were, but I got a great Sprint 4G signal last time I tried it at the Panera in Prairie Village. Watched a good half-hour of music on Vevo while I had dinner.

  3. September 29, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I have had the evo 4g for a few weeks now and haven't found anywhere that I don't have 4g is the aircard different? I am ignorant once technology leaves my computer 🙂 so that was an honest question not sure if it is going to sound stupid! Talking to people in India makes me CRAZY!!! Especially because with computer issues anyway I know what I am talking about and even their scripts are usually flawed, at least that part you would think someone who knows what their doing would have written!

  4. September 29, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Ahhh good ol' Sprint. Home of The No Network. You'd think Kansas City, home to the Sprint galactic headquarters and nuclear bunker, would totally be blanketed by The No Network and you could get 4G down in the basement of said nuclear bunker. Is this why many Sprint employees living at the…Sprint Campus(tm) carry AT&T phones?

  5. September 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

    There's a lot to be said for consistency. LMAO!!

  6. September 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    They gave me a defective aircard. It took the in-store guy to talk me off the ledge.

  7. Kama
    October 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Sprint SUCKS! I hate them, but somehow keep getting roped into 2 year contracts. It’s been 14 years of crappy service now.

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