Sprint is a major provider of wireless and Internet services throughout the world. As of 2014, Sprint is the third largest U.S. network operator, with 54.3 million customers at the end of July 2014. Sprint also owns Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and the Assurance brands of non-contract providers. Recently, there was some turnover in the CEO ranks. Marcelo Claure, the founder and former CEO of Brightstar, replaced Dan Hesse. Sprint consistently pushes the revenue envelope, earning $35.49 billion in 2013 and 35.4 billion in 2012. Sprint is actually owned by the SoftBank Corporation, which holds 80 percent of Sprint’s shares. Also, as of 2014, Sprint has over 38,000 employees, ranging from service support to network engineers. Sprint is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
- Family plans
- Large variety of phones
- Great accessories
Sprint focuses heavily on servicing family units. While most providers' only package different lines under one umbrella data plan, Sprint makes data available for each phone. That means that if you get the 6 GB data plan with Sprint, there will be 6 GB included for each phone. The phone plans are also affordable when you use a family plan.
There is also a wide variety of cellular phones available through Sprint. Sprint offers one BlackBerry phone, which is more than most carriers provide. Also available are the latest iPhone and Android phone products. In addition to providing iPhone and Android products, Sprint also carries an HTC Windows phone available. Most of the contract and non-contract providers that we reviewed only had Nokia Windows phones available.
Cell phones are not the only technology Sprint sells directly to consumers. Sprint allows customers to purchase a mobile hotspot (many phones can be hot spotted), several different tablets, and other devices as well. Sprint also lets customers purchase pre-owned tablets. This makes the price of an iPad or a Google tablet more affordable for customers with a tighter budget. They also offer products like the Onyx studio, a set of speakers that could be plugged into a phone or tablet's audio port, to maximize a listening experience.
Current customers have also been pleased that Sprint still has smartphones with QWERTY keyboards. One product in particular, the Motorola Admiral, has a QWERTY keyboard and is popular amongst a niche group. For these consumers, the keyboard makes it easier to text and browse the Internet.
Sprint is rather transparent regarding the capabilities of the technology they sell. Customers can easily find descriptions concerning the operating system, the screen size, whether or not the phone has a touchscreen, and the battery lifetime. Most of the batteries for Sprint phones last 18 hours or more, most phones had a touchscreen, and there were a lot of phones with a 4" display or larger.
Sprint also heavily emphasizes the selling of accessories to compliment customers' phones, tablets, and other devices. With other contract and non-contract providers, it can be relatively difficult to find protective devices. However, Sprint carries screen protectors and carrying cases for tablets and their customers can find a wide variety of accessories for phones and tablets as well.
For smartphone users, Sprint has created an "app" service for their customer base. They provide an extensive list of apps and customer ratings for them. Customers can sign into the Sprint site and specific apps will be sent directly to the phone via a download link. This feature seems to benefit Android users more than iPhone users at this time.
- Hidden fees
- Early termination fees
- Expensive hotspots
Hidden fees and additional costs are a concern of both current and prospective customers. Sprint is not exactly clear about what their overage fees entail. Those interested in the service will need to conduct further individual research to know for sure what the charge per MB of overage will be. If you are roaming on another network and you go over your data, current customers have stated that there is an expensive overage charge associated with that coverage. Other cellular providers charge a flat overage fee, often $15 per GB of overage. This approach would help Sprint keep overage fees at a minimum for its clients, but it is currently not offered.
Overage fees are not the only expensive aspect to the Sprint pricing model. The early termination fee (when a customer cancels their contract early) is one of the highest in the industry. If you cancel a smartphone contract, you pay $350 per line. Also, you will pay $200 to cancel per line if you use Sprint's basic phones. If you have multiple lines, it would be very easy to pay $1000 if you cancel your contract with Sprint early.
Hotspots and Wi-fi card plans are also considered by Spring customers to be "expensive." The cheapest plan they currently provide is $35/month and has a 3GB cap. There are also additional fees that can apply with the limited GB data. There is no unlimited plan right now. The 30GB plan will run you $110/month.