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Sprint Nextel and the troops
Michelle Malkin ^ | 10JULY 2007 | Michelle Malkin

Posted on 07/10/2007 10:57:32 AM PDT by radar101

A number of readers have e-mailed me about Sprint Nextel canceling troops’ cell phone accounts because of “excessive roaming.” A commenter at the Sprint Users forum first blew the whistle:

I have been a Sprint customer for over 5 years now. Just shortly after my unit returned from Iraq, we rec[ei]ved notification that we would be redeployed to West Point to train cadets over the summer. With almost 1/3 of the unit being Sprint customers, almost 200 soldiers, one of the first things we did was get online and consult Sprints coverage map to ensure that we would have service once we arrived. We where relieved to see that we would in fact have service and did not take any preventive measures in making sure that we would be able to maintain a reliable means of communication to our families back home. The area we would be staying in was actually cat[e]gorized as having “best” coverage.

After we a[r]rived however, we [were] disgruntled to find that the service was not “best”, there was no service at all. A few of us that used Sprint[’]s free roaming feature informed others of this service Sprint offered, and many called and enrolled. Even with roaming, calls are sketchy at best, and very unreliable, but we [were] satisfied to at least be able to call home for a few minutes an evening and let our families know that we where well.

And now comes the kicker. Many of us Sprint customers rec[ei]ved a letter at the begi[n]ning of this month declaring that our Sprint account will be cancelled on July 30th due to the amount of roaming we are doing. The letter stated that they believe that another carrier will be able to serve us better and that we are recieving the boot. Keep in mind, we are not here permanently, or by choice. This is a two month obligation that we had to fulfil[l], and because of it, Sprint is telling us goodbye. We will be returning to our home station, where we have clear Sprint service, FIFTEEN days after the cancellation of our accounts. I personally know at least 10 soldiers that called and explained this situation to Sprint and was told everything was fine.

Because we recently came back from a deployment to Iraq, many Sprint users bought new phones in order to catch up the updates in technology that we missed out on over the 12 months we spent out of country. As we all know, Sprint phones are not interchang[e]able with other carriers, and these are basically going to be very expensive paper weights for many members of the unit. I broke my phone on a training exercise, and did not have insurance on it, so I called to order a new phone. Sprint sold me a new phone at full price THE DAY that thier cancellation notice was mailed to me. When I ordered the new phone, I agian asked the sales rep about the free roaming, and explained my current situation, and was told that everything was fine, and asked for my credit card information.

This is the icing on the top as far as Sprint Customer Service goes. Why on earth I can[’]t get coverage at the United States Military Academy, 40 minutes away from New York City is a mystery to me. I had a cell phone the entire time I was in Iraq with a middle eastern company. I payed LESS to call home and keep in touch from the other side of the world than I do now with Sprint to call within the country. It also did not matter if I was in a major city or out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, I ALWAYS had full coverage. Never had a dropped call, and the customer reps of that company spoke better English than those with Sprint do.

This is just step one, next I will be contacting every news agency I can get a hold [of], with the support of 200 to be canceled soldiers, and then my Senator. __________________________________________________

ZDNet picked up on the story here.

I called James Fisher at Sprint corporate communications this morning. He wanted me to share this statement:

Sprint Nextel will not discontinue service for active duty military customers because of excessive roaming. As part of a general enforcement of the roaming policies that all customers agree to under our terms and conditions, we have contacted some customers about violation of those policies, due to excessive roaming. We understand that military customers may have unique circumstances regarding roaming, and we will not discontinue service for those customers. Any military customer contacted by us regarding excessive roaming simply needs to contact us to confirm their military status to have the roaming issue waived and to ensure continued service, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Sprint Nextel is proud to be a strong supporter of our employees and customers who serve in the military and particularly honored to have been named by G I Jobs Magazine for the past five years as one of the “Top 25 Most Military-Friendly Employers.” For our military customers Sprint Nextel provides assistance to military personnel who are sent overseas into active duty. Instead of having to disconnect their wireless service due to deployment, military personnel are able to temporarily suspend their account for 24 months and keep their phone number at no charge. Looks to me like Sprint screwed up, but responded quickly to Internet-fueled customer pressure. Let’s hope they keep good on their promises to military customers. If you are one of the affected customers, keep us updated. ___________________________________________________ *** Related: Sprint is not having a good week…

“Find another carrier!”

That’s the message Sprint Nextel Corp. sent to more than 1,000 customers in a bid to weed out habitual complainers who clog up customer service lines.

Consumer advocacy groups are calling it a case of David versus Goliath, while others say it’s a smart move to wipe out customers who cost the carrier more than they’re worth.

Sprint Nextel — the nation’s third largest cell phone provider — has decided to literally hang up on the 1,000 customers or so it deemed habitual complainers by canceling their accounts.

Sprint broke the news in a letter, telling these now-former customers that “the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs & after careful consideration, the decision has been made to terminate your wireless service.”

Michael Tereul was one of the Sprint customers who received the Dear John letter.

“Customers service is there in the first place to help customers with issues,” Tereul said. “If we can’t call customer service, what do we do?”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: cellphones; malkins; nextel; sprint

1 posted on 07/10/2007 10:57:36 AM PDT by radar101
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To: radar101

Sprint sux. I’m changing carriers. I can’t even get coverage in my own business, which is in the middle of a major metropolitan area in D/FW. Their customer service is a joke. Anyone have good experiences with ATT Cingular?


2 posted on 07/10/2007 11:03:53 AM PDT by manic4organic (Send a care package through USO today.)
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To: radar101

sprints signals dont penetrate buildings very well. thats a pretty big problem.


3 posted on 07/10/2007 11:05:27 AM PDT by philsfan24
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To: radar101

I had to call them today. Another employee at the company I work for recently got a new phone. And Sprint, somehow, someway, subbed his new phone to my account increasing my bill by $200!

So I call them and they say they’ll be happy to cancel the account but we’ll have to request not to be charged the “Early Termination Fee” of $200.

She failed to see the problem with this.


4 posted on 07/10/2007 11:07:30 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Conservatives are educated. Liberals are indoctrinated.)
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To: radar101

If everyone gets IN with Verizon then we can all call each other without getting any extra minute charges.


5 posted on 07/10/2007 11:08:14 AM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: manic4organic
We have had excellent service from Verizon.

We have a family plan, since most of our phone traffic is from one family member to another, so most of our minutes are free.

After four years, I have nothing but good things to say about them.

6 posted on 07/10/2007 11:08:57 AM PDT by capt. norm (Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.)
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To: philsfan24
Anyone have good experiences with ATT Cingular?

I was with Cingular before they went to ATT. Been fairly happy with them, and the rollover minutes REALLY help. I have more minutes saved up then I could possibly use currently.

Only time I get a dropped call is when I'm in the data center where I work, lots of servers, computers, interference, and no windows. Some carriers don't even work in the room I'm in (cough sprint).

7 posted on 07/10/2007 11:10:25 AM PDT by Domandred (Eagles soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet engines)
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To: manic4organic

I use Verizon. They are probably the most expensive carrier, but the service really stands out, at least for me and my family.

Their reps are Americans and are the best trained CSR’s I’ve encountered anywhere.

Consumer Reports (not like anyone here is big CU fan) also ranks them highest on service.


8 posted on 07/10/2007 11:11:26 AM PDT by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
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To: manic4organic

I’ve been a Sprint customer for 9 years. They have the most modern network, hands down.

If you have a problem - call customer service and ask for ‘customer retention.’

I advise to google for sprint customer retention before calling to learn some helpful strategies.

They’ve always been willing to do what it takes to keep me as a customer.


9 posted on 07/10/2007 11:16:38 AM PDT by GovernmentIsTheProblem (The GOP is "Whig"ing out.)
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To: radar101
FYI, I am no Sprint fan, but there are some legal issues with this.. I’ve noticed that on most companies contracts is a clause that your service may be canceled if you roam more than 50%.

The legal reasoning behind this is that Sprint could be held liable for infringing on another company’s licensed service area. Every company buys market licenses which give them the right to sell and provide service in a specific area. If Sprint sells service in city X to people who will only use in in city Y (were Sprint doesn’t own a license) then the company in company Y has a legal right to ban all of Sprint’s users in that city because they are infringing on the other company’s licensing.

Now, I’m not saying canceling these contracts is right, but there is always more to the story.

10 posted on 07/10/2007 11:20:15 AM PDT by mnehring (Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit)
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To: manic4organic
Run away from AT&T/Cingular. Very poor service and their network isn’t even consistent, some GSM, some TDMA service.

If you are in rural areas or travel a lot, try Alltel or Verizon.. The CDMA licenses have the greatest coverage. If you are only metro, then most service will be pretty much similar.

11 posted on 07/10/2007 11:23:19 AM PDT by mnehring (Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit)
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To: manic4organic

I’ve had Bellsouth/cingular/att cell phones as my only phone for 7 years now ( including 4 hurricanes) The rollover minute plans work well for me, as I tend to peak my usage near the holidays and when my sons are visiting. It’s little pricey fro unlimited web, and I don’t like the fact that after buying a blackjack last christmas at 299 now there are available refurbs at 29, but they did send me a battery upgrade. All in All good coverage when I travel, and they have treated me well.


12 posted on 07/10/2007 11:23:41 AM PDT by Waverunner ( "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too." Voltaire)
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To: GovernmentIsTheProblem
Sprint Sucks....

Sprint Hangs Up on High-Maintenance Customers
Fox News Online ^ 07/9/07 Fox News

13 posted on 07/10/2007 11:25:49 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (Global Warming is Leftist Theology - Why is it Being Taught in School?)
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To: GovernmentIsTheProblem; Grampa Dave
Thank you for those observations and comments! I was on a thread yesterday that this thousand ejectees story triggered and the negativity really starts driving these threads.

I was actually getting a little nervous since I just changed from Verizon to Nextel because I spied the name "Nextel" on the door of a "Frankenpine" cell tower that was just erected on my mountain here in the Swortsinaygur's Sierra-Nevada CONservancy!!!

I love the Push-To-Talk "Walkie-Talkie" mode I use in my business and with family members. The web-site is a little hard to get used to, but once you understand it, it's pretty good for tracking calls/times since the specifics don't show up on the bills.

14 posted on 07/10/2007 11:31:20 AM PDT by SierraWasp (SIERRA REPUBLIC!!! (our 51st united state)(all of CA excluding coastal counties))
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To: manic4organic
Anyone have good experiences with ATT Cingular?

I have cingular. Seems to work OK, pretty decent reception. My only gripe is that on cingular the phone will occasionally sulk and drop a call, usually after 30 minutes or more. I don't know if that's Cingular or just my phone. Doesn't annoy me enough to call customer service about it; I don't normally talk for more than 10 minutes at any given time on the phone.
15 posted on 07/10/2007 11:34:16 AM PDT by JamesP81 (Keep your friends close; keep your enemies at optimal engagement range)
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To: radar101

Thanks to all for the advice. I see I have some more homework to do.


16 posted on 07/10/2007 11:34:46 AM PDT by manic4organic (Send a care package through USO today.)
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To: capt. norm
We have had excellent service from Verizon.

Ditto here. And I go all the way back to Bell Atlantic.

17 posted on 07/10/2007 11:35:53 AM PDT by Niteranger68 (Now....ENFORCE EXISTING IMMIGRATION LAWS!!!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Nothing wrong with firing high maintenance customers!


18 posted on 07/10/2007 11:37:11 AM PDT by GovernmentIsTheProblem (The GOP is "Whig"ing out.)
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To: manic4organic

After the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County, the normal phone lines were burned down. We used cell phones for 32 days
There were three cell phone services : Sprint, Cingular, and Verizon.
The ONLY phones that continued to work were VERIZON.

Where I live now—in Northern Arizona, the only service that works near my home is VERIZION


19 posted on 07/10/2007 11:40:37 AM PDT by radar101 (Dream Team--Hunter&Thompson)
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To: manic4organic
Anyone have good experiences with ATT Cingular?

I have 2 phones with ATT/Cingular on the smallest family rollover plan for 3 years now. I now have more minutes than I could ever use. The phones worked every time on a 4500 mile road trip last year. (even in the mountains)

The only complaint I have had is that when I upgraded the phones, I tried to go to a Cingular store. No Joy. I ended up having to use the web site and wait for UPS to deliver.

20 posted on 07/10/2007 11:43:33 AM PDT by Petruchio (Out to Lunch)
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To: GovernmentIsTheProblem

You’re right. Nothing wrong with that at all.

I’m sure those customers are deeply appreciative.


21 posted on 07/10/2007 11:46:10 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (Global Warming is Leftist Theology - Why is it Being Taught in School?)
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To: capt. norm
After four years, I have nothing but good things to say about them.

Glad to hear it! I'm actually switching to Verizon as soon as my current Sprint billing period ends. I actually worked for Sprint for a little while and I'm very familiar with their BS.

22 posted on 07/10/2007 11:56:46 AM PDT by The Blitherer (What would a Free Man do?)
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To: radar101

I bailed on Sprint years ago. They had the worst service and the worst customer service I’ve ever seen.


23 posted on 07/10/2007 12:07:46 PM PDT by saganite (Billions and billions and billions----and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: capt. norm
Absolutely true -and one of my sons is a long hauler - all over the country ever month - and has EXCELLENT reception with Verizon...the others he had before were worthlessand we have family in the military - move around a lot - and we can all call one another FREE 0
24 posted on 07/10/2007 12:09:36 PM PDT by maine-iac7 ( "...but you can't fool all of the people all the time." LINCOLN)
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To: radar101

I finally got a home where my buffalo can roam, and Nextel cancelled all their phones.


25 posted on 07/10/2007 12:15:22 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Duncan Hunter 2008)
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To: Responsibility2nd

“I’m sure those customers are deeply appreciative.”

Nobody has the right to be your customer if you don’t want them to.

These people called customer service on avg 25 x a month - 4x more than other customers.

My guess is the 1000 customers they fired were responsible for a significant amount of wait time by other customers.

Bravo sprint.


26 posted on 07/10/2007 12:24:46 PM PDT by GovernmentIsTheProblem (The GOP is "Whig"ing out.)
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To: manic4organic

Its the BEST service that I’ve ever had.


27 posted on 07/10/2007 12:27:55 PM PDT by mpackard (Proud mama of a Sailor.)
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To: manic4organic

I gave up on Sprint a long time ago. They never once in the 16 months I had their service got the bill right. I think at month 16 I may have been able to get the bill for months 1 and 2 straight. I just gave up - cost me too, but was worth it.

I have Verizon. The whole family has Verizon, which means the largest part of our talk is free. Even my best friends have Verizon. I drive back and forth through the mountains between my home in TN and my home in NC. The only service that works through those mountains is Verizon.


28 posted on 07/10/2007 12:38:49 PM PDT by Roses0508
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To: saganite

HA you never had Alltel then : )


29 posted on 07/10/2007 12:42:02 PM PDT by mpackard (Proud mama of a Sailor.)
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To: mpackard

I’m with Cingular/ATT now. Is Alltel bad? Not good because I like Ryan Newman!


30 posted on 07/10/2007 12:43:56 PM PDT by saganite (Billions and billions and billions----and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: radar101

I have Alltel. I have dropped (meaning, lost all bars) exactly 2 calls since December of last year.

I had Cingular before and it, simply put, stunk worse then the ass end of a dead rhinoceros. I was lucky if 1 out of 5 calls would be completed without being dropped. There is an entire area of my town (about 3-4 miles wide) where there is NO chance (read: ZERO) of making a phone call. When I called Cingular (which I started calling “Single-Wire”), they told me that area was a cell phone “dead area” and that all the carriers have problems.

Smelled like BS then, so when I got my new phone, that was the first place I drove. I not only had 5 bars, but from that very area, I sat in the middle of that “dead zone” and called Single-Wire and canceled my service.


31 posted on 07/10/2007 12:44:36 PM PDT by mattdono (150 Million bloodthirsty Arabs vs. 4.8 Million Jewish Israelis. That's not fair. [Off Sarcasm])
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To: manic4organic

Works in NJ, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain..... works for me


32 posted on 07/10/2007 12:56:38 PM PDT by SERE_DOC ("People shouldn't fear the governments, governments should fear it's people!" "V")
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To: manic4organic

I use AT&T/Cingular, been with them for 5 or so years, and have had no problems. They also will drop customers for ‘Excessive Roaming’ (More than 60% of your airtime on a regular basis). All carriers have the ‘Excessive Roaming’ clause in their contracts.


33 posted on 07/10/2007 12:57:30 PM PDT by BritExPatInFla
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To: saganite

Alltel was hideous in numerous ways. The very worst was that you CANNOT speak with management. I’ve tried on 5 occassions. The underling says that he’s going to put you on hold and then cuts you off. The day that my mom went into brain surgery Alltel cut my service (the bill was paid) to let me know that I was inncurring a lot of roaming charges. Well, I knew that. I was in Indianapolis where my mom lay dying. When I tried to speak to management about it, I was cut off. When I cut the service they said that I’d have to pay 400.00 dollars ( I had 2 plans) and I told them that I’d pay a million not to be held hostage to a lousy phone company.


34 posted on 07/10/2007 1:13:29 PM PDT by mpackard (Proud mama of a Sailor.)
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To: manic4organic

I left ATT Cingular for the same reasons. Cingular sucks in my opinion.


35 posted on 07/10/2007 1:24:56 PM PDT by rednek (if it isn't large caliber, it isn't worth carrying)
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To: philsfan24; capt. norm; GovernmentIsTheProblem
Bear in mind that Sprint will work anywhere that Verizon does since the two (CDMA) systems are compatible. Sprint phones can roam on Verizon towers.

As to buildng penetration - that's an issue caused by the higher frequencies that CDMA uses (1900mHz) vs. the 800-900mHz that GSM uses. That said, I've never really been in a situation where I couldn't get service w/ Sprint in a building where others could - we all seem to be walking toward the boardroom windows in an effort to get service.

The problem with too many roaming minutes is dealt with in Sprint's contract - with their 'America' plans, up to 50% of total momthly usage can be roaming. I suspect that's where folks are running into problems if they remain outside their calling area for extended periods of time.

philsfan24 - sprints signals dont penetrate buildings very well. thats a pretty big problem.

capt.norm - We have had excellent service from Verizon.

36 posted on 07/10/2007 1:35:31 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy ("Everyone knows there's a difference between Muslims and terrorists. No one knows what it is, tho...)
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To: manic4organic

I’ve had Cingular for 5 years and never had a problem. Rarely do I have a dropped and the reception seems pretty good. Of course, I have no idea how Cingular is in your area of the country.


37 posted on 07/11/2007 6:09:53 AM PDT by oldvike
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