Sprint Reports Huge Loss; Warns Of More Difficulties

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

The depth of the challenge facing new Sprint Nextel chief executive Dan Hesse was laid bare today when the wireless carrier announced a $29.5 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2007 and warned of ongoing troubles.

Sprint eliminated its dividend and wrote down the full value of Nextel Communications on its balance sheet. Sprint merged with Nextel in 2005 in a $70 billion deal, but the marriage has been a difficult one. Sprint also announced it had borrowed $2.5 billion to sustain business operations.

Sprint said 1.2 million wireless subscribers are expected to drop their service by the end of March. In the whole of 2007, that many subscribers abandoned Sprint. Meanwhile, chief rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T gained subscribers.

The loss of $29.5 billion ($10.36 per share) compared to a profit of $261 million (9 cents per share) in the fourth quarter 2006. The loss for all of 2007 was $29.6 billion ($10.31) compared to $995 million (34 cents) in 2006. Overall revenues for 2007 decline slightly from 2006.

In early trading, Sprint shares sank 20 percent, according to Bloomberg. The stock had already lost a third of its value this year. The loss was the fifth-largest among S&P 500 companies since 1990, according to Bloomberg.

"The fourth quarter financial results reflect the challenges facing our wireless business," Hesse said in a statement.

Hesse said the those challenges were "more difficult than what I had expected to encounter," and said the series of changes he is implementing to shore up the firm "will take time to produce improved operating performance."
"Our near-term subscriber and financial results will continue to be pressured," he said.

Since taking Sprint's helm in December, Hesse has cut 4,000 jobs, let three top executives go, eliminated 125 Sprint retail shops and consolidated the company's headquarters, moving senior executives from Reston to Overland Park, Kansas.

"Internally, we have rolled out a unified company culture focused on accountability and on providing a superior customer experience. We plan to share some of our initiatives for improving the customer experience and operations next quarter. Strategic assessments and changes may take longer to complete," Hesse said.

A big remaining decision is how the company will adjust its plans to deploy a nationwide, high-speed wireless network known as WiMax. Sprint has been in talks with outside firms, including Intel, about spinning off its WiMax division into a joint venture and receiving a cash infusion. An original plan to spend $5 billion on the network was panned by analysts and investors.

Sprint also announced a $99.99 "Simply Everything" plan, including unlimited voice, data, text, Web surfing, mobile television, music, GPS navigation, and direct and group connect. Rivals had also recently launched unlimited mobile calling plans at the same price.

Sprint's plan offers customers more features at the same price. But many expected the firm to introduce a plan at a much lower price, stirring competition.

By Zachary Goldfarb  |  February 28, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
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"The loss of $29.5 billion ($10.36 per share) compared to a profit of $261 million (9 cents per share) in the fourth quarter 2006. The loss for all of 2007 was $29.6 billion (88 cents) compared to $580 million ($1.18) in 2006. Overall revenues for 2007 decline slightly from 2006."

this does not look right, how can 29.5 billion loss be ten bucks a share and then 29.6 billion loss be 88 cents a share? Can you recheck your figures on this please?

Posted by: mark fishel | February 28, 2008 10:06 AM

We've been with Sprint since the beginning...we have two lines on the "Pioneer Plan". And eight other lines on different plans. It's no wonder Sprint/Nextel is having problems. Their service is a best terrible here in San Diego. Sprint claims to have complete coverage here...Yet I have more dropped calls, roaming issues then anywhere else. I can't even use my cell phone inside my house, I'm forced to walk outside, cross the street in order to get a usable signal. And I don't even want to go into the non-service that Sprint reps don't provide at Sprint stores. I dread going into any of their stores here in San Diego, it seems I'm forever standing in a line, only to look around and see Sprint reps doing, what appears to be nothing.
When our service contract expires in April, we're switching to Verizon..and that's a total of ten lines.
I also have a Nextel phone...only because it's a Dept of Def phone.
I just want to say...good luck Sprint.
If you fold...it'll be because of your terribe service, and lack of customer care.

Posted by: Jim John | February 28, 2008 10:36 AM

mark fishel: One is a quarterly per-share loss figure; the other is calculated for the whole year.

Posted by: sboyd18@cox.net | February 28, 2008 10:48 AM

Sprint ought not to be trying to glean extra funds from their existing customers through these types of scams:

http://skydeck.com/blog/mobilemarket/text-message-fraud/#comment-13845

This is quite possibly PART of their problem... loss of customer base!

Posted by: cantTakeSprintAnyMore! | February 28, 2008 10:49 AM

how is this possible - my sprint bill is always way too high...and they are still losing money...GOOD!

though I guess this means I still can't get out of my contract...

Posted by: td | February 28, 2008 11:00 AM

I started with Nextel in 1999, and had no trouble with them up until Sprint came in and ruined a good thing in 2005. Since then I've had billing errors, extra charges on my account, the customer service has been polite, but absolutely terrible at resolving billing or technical problems. I know they don't care about my issues with _____ problem this time, but they could at LEAST try to do their job and act like they do. I've had partial service for over a year now, finally had enough and dropped them for Verizon. It's no wonder they are flopping when they cannot even hold on to a long time loyal customer.

Posted by: oldNexteluser | February 28, 2008 11:09 AM

mark fishel,

We fixed the numbers...Thanks for bringing to our attention.

Posted by: Dan Beyers | February 28, 2008 11:52 AM

I've been very happy with Sprint. Lower rates than their competitors, very good reception 99% of the time and can't say I've seen any errors in my billing.

I hope they can't turn around as I'd hate to have to switch to overpriced Verizon.

Posted by: RG | February 28, 2008 11:52 AM

of course I meant "can turn things around".

Posted by: RG | February 28, 2008 11:53 AM

I worked for AT&T customer service for 15 years and in 2001 accepted a buyout offer. I applied for a customer service position at Sprint and walked out in the middle of the interview. If the public only knew how poorly paid their customer service reps are they would have a better understanding of why they have the attitudes they do. I now drive a truck and could not be happier.

Posted by: bruce | February 28, 2008 11:58 AM

Sounds like Sprint Killed ONE Golden Goose and the other STARVED for Attention(Professional Attentive Service)..

Issa y Yago

Posted by: Issa y Yago | February 28, 2008 11:59 AM

This news is very pleasing to me personally. Maybe six or seven years ago I was a sprint customer. I took a trip during the summer around the west and got almost no coverage. My phone usage was about ten minutes for the month. I called and asked for a refund, was told that it had to go through some board. I told them I wanted a refund or would break my contract. "Oh you won't do that, it would cost you two hundred dollars." I was told. "Give me the rebate or watch me" I said. I couldn't find anyone at Sprint authorized to give me a rebate even at the cost of losing a customer for life. Even when I told them that would be the consequence.
Just think, every customer is just one customer. Piss em all off and you're out of business. Just something for the megacorporation to think about. By the way--go ahead and break your contract if you're unhappy--the satisfaction is well worth the cost.

By the way, the use of contracts which don't let the customer simply pay for the time he uses are really disgusting and high handed and at some point someone is going to figure out that it would be good to give customers what they actually want.

Posted by: scientist1 | February 28, 2008 12:11 PM

Last year, a company had 30 something branch offices using sprint 1.5Mb connections. All were dropped due to service issues. No wonder they are suffering.

Posted by: shoemaka | February 28, 2008 12:21 PM

We just switced to Verizon about a month ago. We were on Sprint for 5 years and when I called to inquire about cancellation service fees, the Sprint Rep literally hung up on me. Nice...

so long Sprint. Bout time they lose money.

Posted by: Mike | February 28, 2008 12:32 PM

I've been a Spring PCS customer for almost five years. The service in Connecticut is great - better than many of the other carriers from what I can gather. However, after the whole Nextel thing, their website has been real janky, and my girlfriend and I have both had problems with their billing.

Customer service reps are nice, but they often seem like they don't really know what to do, or who to talk to.

I'm not a businessman, but it sounds like bad management to me. I've been patient with Sprint, but I no longer recommend it.

Posted by: James | February 28, 2008 12:38 PM

I have been with sprint since coming to the metro area, and one thing I can say is that they offer a variety of plans and that is why I stayed with them. The only thing i can really say that is terrible about their company is customer service over the phone and in stores. Stop outsourcing jobs and maybe you wont piss people off, and they might stay.

Thanks

Posted by: Ronald Reid Washington DC | February 28, 2008 12:43 PM

I'm not surprised that Sprint is having problems - their customer service is TERRIBLE. I was a Sprint customer years ago and didn't like their showrooms or their coverage, particularly. I was surprised that Nextel allowed themselves to be taken over. Now the marriage of the two companies is on the rocks. What a surprise!

Posted by: Charles in Houston | February 28, 2008 12:45 PM

Sprint was horrible during the time I was forced by my employer to use their service. And their service still does not work in any other place in the world. Sprint also will not consider converting to a worldwide standard.

Their C-level staff's heads should roll over these horrible business decisions.

Posted by: Sierra | February 28, 2008 12:47 PM

my daughter's sprint bill is outrageous, she went over her text message amount and her phone was turned off, that's three times this month, she is on their contract until march of 09, she will bail too, sprint is a lousy cell phone service

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2008 12:50 PM

I now have early termination charges on my credit report for two lines that I refuse to pay.

Sprint charged and illegal tax of 11% one month that they could not explain when challenged. They said that it was a new FCC surcharge. I called the FCC and they said that there was no such charge. FTC said the same. After a few dozen calls to the Sprint executive suites, their legal team finally said it was an error and issued an apology.

I got the Maryland Attorney General involved and Sprint admitted to them too that after months of me fighting it, that they were wrong and subscribers were improperly charged and that credits had been issued across the board.

I demanded that my contract be canceled if they cannot explain what they are billing me for. The 100+ hours invested in getting this resolved wore me down, but I was on a mission. What a quick and easy way to make millions on the back of customers -- an 11% rate hike hidden as a bogus tax. By the time all was said and done, I wanted nothing more to do with Sprint.

They, however, feel that I was obligated to continue doing business with them and the highest person that a consumer can reach in the company refused to void the contract. He was extremely rude, condescending and could not understand my frustration with his company.

His name is Matthew Bean. He is an arrogant jerk.

It appears as though their business practices are catching up to them.

Posted by: Jesse | February 28, 2008 12:56 PM

Customer service is horrendous, I needed a new phone, went into one of there stores and spent 2 hours while a rep tried to turn on my hybrid phone. Have had duplicate billing every since. Forget calling customer service, the common answer is; we can't see the Nextel side of the house or the Nextel Rep we can't see the Sprint side of the house to fix the billing error. Wait until next month and the bill should be zeroed out. Yet I am getting dunning notice for an unpaid bill. All because I needed a new phone. I can't wait to drop them when my contract runs out.

Posted by: psmith | February 28, 2008 1:05 PM

I have been a customer with sprint for 8 years. Overall network service is gool (ok, decent), however their customer service is just horrible, both on the phone and at the store. I rather go to Best Buy when I wanted a new phone or had any issues than to the Sprint store. No Customer Service = Unhappy Customers = Bad Business!

Posted by: OC | February 28, 2008 1:12 PM

all cell phone companies suck. in choosing one, it comes down to which one will screw me the least. with that in mind one can't help but to feel a little schadenfreude over sprint

Posted by: smurf | February 28, 2008 1:19 PM

After years of poor coverage, lousy stores and constant billing problems I switched to Verizon. Great coverage, helpful people in their stores and no billing problems. By the way, Sprint's no roaming policy is only good if you don't roam too much!

Posted by: Larry Russo | February 28, 2008 1:23 PM

Golly Gee, it could not have happened to a nicer group of schmucks! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | February 28, 2008 1:23 PM

I'm sorry Sprint is having such a difficult time but a company that doesn't care about it's customer's deserves to be where Sprint/nextel is. Verizon Wireless has offered me coverage that is the best! No dropped calls, no roaming EVER, unlmtd minutes and txt and the best phones in my opinion. I am so GLAD I made the decision to go with Verizon.

Posted by: Tatianna | February 28, 2008 2:01 PM

I have had two sprint phones for about 11 years. I have used them because they were cheap plans that I got through the government. But their phone and store customer service is the worst! People at the stores could care less about you unless you are buying a new phone and over the phone the reps are very rude. If it wasn't because I have a contract and because I do not want to lose the number I would have switched years ago!

Posted by: leo | February 28, 2008 2:33 PM

I had sprint for years.. I think a total of 8 years, I hated every minute of it.. had it thru a government contract. yes sprint is cheaper, but less quality.. no customer service and worst of all bad reception. All in all, when you pay for a cheaper service you get lower quality service. I switched to Verizon, have a PDA phone that sprint carries but am EXTREMELY HAPPY with Verizon! Never had a billing issue, no roaming charges, the IN network helps me stay in touch with all my co-workers.. all in all, you pay a lil more a month and you will receive a better product. I want a phone carrier that works to my needs and sprint just didn't cut it.. so it doesnt surprise me to see them loosing money. One fact tho, sprint worked better on the west coast, especially LA, but not in the DC area

Posted by: Ala Shahabi | February 28, 2008 2:46 PM

I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada moutain range at about 1500 feet. I'm about ten miles below Placerville. I love Nextel, but the coverage is not very good, I often have to walk outside my home to receive a signal. Coverage is not good at all around Placerville, most of my friends who have other services have no problems at all, all I seem to get is no signal. I love the push to talk Nextel offers, but I just don't know if I will renew my contract in May of 2008!

Posted by: George Costenbader | February 28, 2008 2:46 PM

when does sprint realize their poor service in general? Is the company keep looking for thier next victem to stay in business?

It seems that sprint only cares about profit with low cost of service. the company need to invest more on their customer service as well as technology.

Posted by: x-employee | February 28, 2008 2:49 PM

I had Sprint. No service. Went into the Sprint store. No service. Their response: "We didn't promise you service everywhere!" Mine: "How about anywhere!" Cancelled. Switched to Cingular, now ATT. Just fine.

Posted by: Fredric | February 28, 2008 3:01 PM

I have two plans under sprint and recently my phone bill has been extremely high. My contract doesn't end until next January, but I am really upset with the service I have been getting and I am really ready to end my contract now. The bill is unbelievable and they can't explain why,but they are quick to cut someone's phone off.

Posted by: Sprint Customer | February 28, 2008 3:12 PM

UNFURTUNATLY I AM HAPPY , OF THESE HAPPEN TO SPRING , THEY NEVER VALUE THE COSTUMER , Y REMEMBER BEEN IN CALL WAIT IN COSTUMER SERVICES PER HOUR AND Y NER HAD A PROBLEM SOLVE ..........WHEN COMPANYS ARE AT THE TOP IS WHEN THEY HAVE TO BUILD COSTUMER RELATIONSHIP.


I WHIS THESE COMPANY GOES AOUT OF THE MARKET

Posted by: EX-COSTUMER | February 28, 2008 3:34 PM

UNFURTUNATLY I AM HAPPY , OF THESE HAPPEN TO SPRING , THEY NEVER VALUE THE COSTUMER , Y REMEMBER BEEN IN CALL WAIT IN COSTUMER SERVICES PER HOUR AND Y NEVER HAD A PROBLEM SOLVE ..........WHEN COMPANYS ARE AT THE TOP IS WHEN THEY HAVE TO BUILD COSTUMER RELATIONSHIP.


I WHIS THESE COMPANY GOES AOUT OF THE MARKET

Posted by: EX-COSTUMER | February 28, 2008 3:38 PM

UNFURTUNATLY I AM HAPPY , OF THESE HAPPEN TO SPRING , THEY NEVER VALUE THEIR COSTUMER , Y REMEMBERS BEEN IN CALL WAIT IN COSTUMER SERVICES PER HOUR AND Y NEVER HAD A PROBLEM SOLVE ..........WHEN COMPANYS ARE AT THE TOP IS WHEN THEY HAVE TO BUILD COSTUMER RELATIONSHIP.


I WHIS THESE COMPANY GOES AOUT OF THE MARKET

Posted by: EX-COSTUMER | February 28, 2008 3:39 PM

"Just think, every customer is just one customer. Piss em all off and you're out of business. "

Actually, from a service seminar of some years ago, I learned that a statisfied customer will tell one of two others; a disatisfied customer tells on the average 12 others. Assume 2/3 of them aren't already Sprint customers - that's 8 people who will never sign up.

I watched a company drive themselves out of business that way - not delivering what they promised at the price they promised and telling the ticked off customer 'that's business' until everyone in town knew they were unreliable.

How much do you want to bet that Sprint gives customer service reps demerits for accepting a cancellation? That would explain why they hang up on you - better someone else should take the hit.

Posted by: Sane almost | February 28, 2008 3:55 PM

I am so very, very happy to hear that they have received their come uppance. They have really bad customer service. If you call with a problem don't be surprised to be transferred 6-7 times and re-explaining your issue every time. It is exhausting and inconvenient, which still results in no service or return calls. I wish I could switch but I have two years under my contract. I WILL NOT RENEW!!!

Posted by: PPSHANNON | February 28, 2008 3:57 PM

chirp... chirp... where did Sprint lose $29.5 billion? if you think about it thats just as crazy as Exxon's profits!

Posted by: ams1500 | February 28, 2008 4:11 PM

I also experienced regularly dropped calls, spotty coverage, and inconsistent customer service. I dropped them for Verizon four-five years ago. VZ's more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Never regretted it.

Sprint started dropping customers who became too expensive to service. But the reason they were expensive to service was because Sprint itself has issues. They deserve to go out of business, they won't be missed.

Posted by: RL | February 28, 2008 4:14 PM

Isn't this the same company that 'fired' customers a while ago because, in their words, could not satisfy the customers' desires with regard to mobile phone service? Well I am glad to see them lose profits = business = customers. Maybe the powers to be will rethink that old policy that servicing the customer's needs is of the utmost importance. I feel bad for the folks who will get laid off (but not if they were the rude folks I had the displeasure of dealing with when I was a Sprint customer).

Posted by: Abe G | February 28, 2008 4:24 PM

I was a Sprint customer until last week when I finally shelled out the $200 to break my contract (which was scheduled to expire in Aug 08). I couldn't take it anymore. Every call to customer service induced a migraine - and lord help you if you used your cell phone to call them - chances are you'd get dropped at least 2x before getting the problem "resolved" (using that term loosely here). Frustrating does not begin to capture it.

Run as fast as you can. I had a very positive experience calling AT&T customer service - spoke with a nice rep who was not AFRAID to stay on the phone with me as the Sprint CSRs seem to be. I feel sorry for them - they are not trained for the task and I'm probably not the only customer who yelled at them out of frustration.

Posted by: JM | February 28, 2008 4:26 PM

Can you hear me now?

Posted by: Abe G | February 28, 2008 4:27 PM

I agree with the above comments regarding Sprint's spotty coverage and horrible CS. AT&T and Verizon may be more expensive, but their (justifiable, imo) attitude is that you get what you pay for and that Sprint is not a competitor. The invisible hand has smacked Sprint upside the head.

Posted by: d.e. | February 28, 2008 4:40 PM

Well, It never really made any sense to me that those 2 companies merge. It's called "IDIOTIC" the services for Nextel is just as bad as Sprint before the merge so I guess it does make sense for 2 companies 2 make no sense in the end. I too am a Verizon customer but if it were left up to what's more fesible I would just choose a land line and call it a day at least you don't get a dropped call unless you call that the excuse when you don't want to talk. And just think it will still be Verizon Hmmmmm!!! or wait Vonage LOL!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2008 5:09 PM

I actually like my sprint service. When i have recieved large bills for my employees using text messages, i have been able to get sprint to wipe them out, when i have been dissatisfied with my first smartphone, i was able to choose a new one, but that took more than a few phone calls. I actually feel like their problems with customer retention are beneficial to me cause i can squeeze them to lower my bill. I have not been able to do that with verizon or tmobile. Coverage is good for me and data is cheaper than verizon. I personally think all cell phone companies suck but I have been able to get the most refunds from sprint.

Posted by: crl22191 | February 28, 2008 5:30 PM

There will be no immunity for the telecom companies. There will be no immunity for soul rapers aka real estate agents that are evil. There will be no immunity for Properties that have names like Morgan and William Penn. Why, because they are vile, evil, and corrupt. And, they now are living a living hell! As I told you pieces of garbage, the North End Raper thought he could violate me, and he met his demise.
Robert S. Mueller lll aka Sherman Clark is to apologize to me for what he has done, and is to also bring me the money the FBI owes me for expenses of driving across this country so they could catch the group harassers that were harassing me to enable them to arrest their a$$es! And, Robert S. Mueller lll aka Sherman Clark is to do this today!

Posted by: Karen Romero | February 28, 2008 5:33 PM

Answers to my wishes are soon come to realty. Sprint wireless is on its way to the mud (history gone forever). Following the Sprint CEO, the cronyies, thieves to hell. "What goes around comes around". Your cup is fulled, Sprints wireless have been stealing money from me for so many, many ,many years Amen.

Posted by: Current Sprint Customer | February 28, 2008 5:34 PM

Never used Sprint or Nextel, but from the outside, the problems are clear, and they stem from the fallacy that they "had" to merge to compete with Verizon and AT&T. They didn't. They went ahead and did it anyway, and now are taking mind-numbing writeoffs.

Posted by: Turtle | February 28, 2008 5:48 PM

I was an original Nextel customer and before the phones got complicated I never had a problem, when we switched over to Sprint not only do I want to go back and scream at the Sprint reps who talked me into the service, when I call customer service I find that I am talking to someone in Southeast Asia who has my best interest in the least bit. When I asked about the high charges on the line I couldnt even understand what the guy was saying. Hey SPRINT contract renewal is coming up, dont think you'll be getting anymore of my business,....CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Posted by: Sick of Sprint | February 28, 2008 5:51 PM

I actually hate Sprint with a passion! 1) They have the worst service- features go down and, of course, your account doesn't get credited. 2) They insist that I could drop my contract if my zip code doesn't get coverage- and since there's coverage in some parts of my zip, well, I don't get to leave (it doesn't work anywhere in my home or my 2 acres of land!) 3) They have one of the worst customers service, even worse than AOL. You call technical support re: problems with a feature, and oftentimes the techs don't even know Sprint has the feature 4) I found out that the reason why my Print-to-a-Fax feature didn't work through the company that provides the service to Sprint- the tech from Sprint didn't know the feature had ever existed, nor that it had been canceled. 5) You pay your bill on time, but you don't- If you pay your bill online, or on the phone, or at a store you are not necessarily paying for your bill, but for charges that were added G-d only knows how, then your service gets interrupted.... blah... blah... I could go on, but do I need to? I think not! Sprint SUCKS!!!

Posted by: EGGArgost | February 28, 2008 6:09 PM

I think this is the biggest bunch of BS I have ever heard- sales are not down and this is baloney to capitalize on a downturn in the market. Whatever the strategy don't feel sorry for the Carries i.e. Sprint-Verizon- AT&T - they are not losing money- they are also trying very hard to hold onto a position that just because there are building the "phone companies" should be entitled to place equipment on buildings with no fault- modification to space or pay for use policy
It's BS - these guys are worse than lawyers!!!!
Remember that folks - NO PITY FOR SPRINT / NEXTEL

Posted by: telecom | February 28, 2008 6:15 PM

I am glad Sprint is suffering. We were their loyal customers for 8 years with $100 Plus a month plan. We signed up for a two year contract and when it was up, we canceled b/c of horrible customer service and spotty coverage. Guess what? They told us that we would be charged an early termination fee of 200 bucks. When asked why? They said that our contract was for three years b/c my husband made some changes to plan. This extension of the service plan was never communicated to us and we challenged the charge on our credit card...but Discover card sided with Sprint simply b/c sprint provided them with a "bill". We asked for letter or anything proving that we were notified of the contract extension but Sprint never could provide us with that info....after 7 months of finghting...we decided it was not worth the effort/time/drama to continue...in the end...we won...we got out and never looked back...we did lose 200 bucks but you know what? They will never get another penny from us! I eventually told all my family members abaout my horrible experience with Sprint and as a result they lost about 7 quality customers...my Mom, Dad, brothers and my in laws. Just go to show you that what goes around, comes around.

Posted by: GladDeeDoo | February 28, 2008 6:59 PM

Sprint Bad. We used to have a Sprint phone four years ago. Their customer service, to put it bluntly sucked. We moved to a new location, they would not give us a local number unless we subscribed to a new two year plan, even though we had been customers for six years. When I protested they couldn't care less, so we quit. Evidently the market has finally spoken, the customer has abandoned Sprint.

Posted by: Steve R. | February 28, 2008 7:34 PM

Sprint Bad. We used to have a Sprint phone four years ago. Their customer service, to put it bluntly sucked. We moved to a new location, they would not give us a local number unless we subscribed to a new two year plan, even though we had been customers for six years. When I protested they couldn't care less, so we quit. Evidently the market has finally spoken, the customer has abandoned Sprint.

Posted by: Steve R. | February 28, 2008 7:34 PM

ha..ha..ha..ha..ha..ha..!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: mriley0223 | February 28, 2008 7:37 PM

Several posters wrote about poor customer service and "auto-pilot" billings. My experience with Sprint matches theirs.

To be fair, most large U.S. businesses operate that way today. Citifinancial is a quintessential 21st century customer service business: will not acknowledge emails, rarely answer their phones, their computers phone customers telling the customer to call them and then put the return caller on infinite hold. Their reps are in India and know nothing except for what is scripted by the company. The foreign reps do not even have access to a customer contact history.

Citifinancial and Sprint are but two of thousands of American businesses who claim increases in productivity and advertise super service while passing their work off to customers placed on hold or waiting in line or using self-checkout.

The strategy with most companies today is to never (NEVER) set up automatic payments. Pay as you go with a check or on-line, but never let them take $ from your account w/o your approval of the amount. I finally told Sprint to take a hike when they tried the early cancellation gimmick with me. They feel that their early cancellation fee means they can provide lousy service, but that you cannot quit them. I paid not a dime.

Posted by: rwruger | February 28, 2008 7:42 PM

They're getting exactly what they deserve. What else do you expect from a bunch of yokels from Kansas? Everything they've touched has turned to crap.

Posted by: Ex-Sprint Employee | February 28, 2008 8:14 PM

Sprint customer service was pathetic when I was with them 2001-2 and I hear it still is. Hello?

Posted by: Sebastian | February 28, 2008 8:16 PM

Amazing that everyone has known the problems (coverage and customer service) for years and Sprint managed to get away with it longer than justified. The ten years I was a Sprint customer were rewarded with dreadful coverage when I traveled (to my kitchen) and some of the rudest customer service personnel. Two days after I changed to another carrier I finally got a call from someone who was willing to "help resolve the problems" but it was too late. Additionally, I dumped my stock knowing that it was only a matter of time.

Now give us a description of the compensation packages of the management team and how many have dumper their stock in the last 6 months?

Posted by: baaaah@aol.com | February 28, 2008 8:28 PM

I managed an enormous third party help desk for Sprint/Nextel. We handled tens of thousands of calls per day. We were the vendors and Sprint held us accountable to our contract. They are without a doubt the biggest bunch of corporate morons I have ever served in telecom (and I have served a few). They lose money because they are fools with too much time on their hands to figure out ways to break what is not broken and then fail miserbly at trying to fix it. Every Sprint customer should cancel their contracts with Sprint tomorrow. The following chaos will make it impossible for them to collect the early termination fees and even if they do - it is far better to switch to a carrier that works, a carrier that is effective even if that decision costs you $250. Otherwise you are spending that in a month or two for an inferior product, inferior service and an inferior bunch of managers who squander your money, feather their own nests and ultimately have comfortable golden parachutes ready to carry them to lucrative retirmements regardless of the level of their buffoonary. I know - I have worked side by side with these imbeciles and if they had to manage the free distribution of air - they would find 100 ways to complicate it, 50 ways to ruin it and 10 ways to make it cost more than it is worth.

Posted by: Joe Marino | February 28, 2008 8:49 PM

Customer service. Who have they outsourced that to? India? Every time I ask a question I get the same prepared answer off of some paper they must be reading off of. Even when I say "You didn't answer my question, I asked....?", and once again, the same canned answer. I can say they didn't answer my question several times and I get the same response...word for word. Totally frustrating.

Another thing, they continually try to sell me on more things. One example, a 3rd phone & line. They persisted even after telling them 4 or 5 times I have no one other than my wife and I who need phones, and we already have ours. Their response, "I see. Well we can give you a 3rd phone line for only .... a month". They just don't seem to understand when I say I am not going to pay for something I won't be using.

Posted by: StyxNCa | February 28, 2008 9:22 PM

I was with Sprint/Nextel for almost 2 years. I left my family plan and went to Verizon alone because of the poor customer service and poor-no wait-poor isn't the right word...more like awfully horrible signal i had. I am happier with Verizon in so many levels. Even my bill is less expensive. Ever since Sprint and Nextel joined, things have gone down hill. I would have stayed if it were just Nextel, after all I do like the direct connect feature, but Sprint didn't help their situation. My parents are still with Sprint/Nextel. They have no signal in most places and I can never reach them on their cellphone. I wonder when they're going to follow the example of their daughter.

Posted by: Ana Lemos | February 28, 2008 9:24 PM

F Sprint/Nextel....Thanks!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2008 9:51 PM

The whole industry is a racket. Kudos to all of you for speaking out. Sounds like a lot of pent up frustation on here. Looks like the class action lawsuits should be on their way before the company finally collapses. The CEO could do nothing better at this moment than read these comments and get &%$#@# humble if he wants his company and his professional reputation to survive.

Posted by: Johnny | February 28, 2008 10:15 PM

I had Sprint back in upstate NY and it was okay when I was in the Syracuse area. Other than that the service was pretty crappy. I was still on my parent's plan at the time but it was a 3-line plan worth about 120 bucks a month. When the time came for a new contract, we went to Sprint first and asked what they were willing to do to keep us as customers. They offered pricing worse than what was advertised. Why? We were existing customers. Apparently the people who just paid 120 bucks a month for two years on time aren't worth keeping around. So we went to Verizon and have been there every since (about 4 years now) and largely have no complaints. It just sounds like Sprint is screwed up all over the place. I see them being bought up by somebody in the near future.

Posted by: Burt R | February 28, 2008 10:48 PM

I hate to jump on the band wagon, but, in this case I feel compelled to do so.

Just like most of the others here, I too was a LOYAL CUSTOMER of Sprint Nextel.

After years of dropped calls, unexplainable charges, & most importantly HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE, I finally threw in the towel & joined VERIZON.

As of the time of writing this comment, I have been with VERIZON appoximately 8 (eight) months. During this period, I can count on 1 (one) hand the amount of dropped calls that I've experienced.
With Verizon, I can count on my monthly bill being the price I expect it to be (all the time).
With Verizon, I can expect (and do receive) outstanding customer service all of the time!
Yes, I do pay more for service with VERIZON than I did with Sprint Nextel. However, If I never believed before that "you get what you pay for", since joining VERIZON, I'm a true believer that you really "get what you pay for"!!
It's unfortunate that in todays' society, one must pay more money to get better service, products etc. But that's what we've come to.


To summarize my feelings about getting rid of Sprint Nextel & joining VERIZON:

VERIZON offers its' customers a great product, outstanding customer service, fewer dropped calls and consistency, all at a fair price!!
Sprint Nextel, well....THEY DON'T.

Sprint Nextel is now trying to do everything they can to win back customers but,in the words of a famous person: Too late... too late.... shall be the cry!! TOO LATE... TOO LATE... IS THE CRY!!!

BTW: I had 2 (two) cell phones with Sprint Nextel. The phone service was so bad, and the customer service was so poor, I broke my contract and paid several hundred dollars in termination fees to get rid of the major headache called Sprint Nextel!!!

Posted by: Dexter S | February 29, 2008 12:26 AM

I wrote this last Tuesday after a picture taken at the Oscars had Tim Donahue, former Nextel CEO, in the background.

My friends question (a former Nexteler): "So, what's his relevance?"

My response (also a former Nexteler): "A movie entitled 'Nextel - Why did you do it?' is in the works. I think it deals w/ premature de-branding during a merger, abandoning your niche technology that is near impossible to duplicate that got you where you are today, adopting the "strategic" plan that is a carbon copy of all other telecoms, and mixing cultures not meant to be mixed."

Posted by: John S | February 29, 2008 8:48 AM

The $29 billion loss for ONE QUARTER is astonishing in its size. Can anyone answer this question: Is this the biggest quarterly loss posted by any company ever?

Posted by: Ola K | February 29, 2008 2:00 PM

Was an original Nextel customer... Before they were even Nationwide. Loved the PTT and used it with all of our friends (everyone had it.) Pricing became ridiculous - but Nextel was never designed for the "home" user. It was designed for the small business user. The merge with Spring was the WORST business decision they could have made. Maybe it worked short-term; but the long-term issues will dig their eventual grave. They were so concerned with stupid things like: a) The WINSTON CUP SERIES being called the NEXTEL CUP; oh wait the SPRINT CUP... Good god. This is your major concern? How about the lack of PTT support because Sprint could really care less about the "Nextel" subscribers at the end of the day. Pathetic. Been with AT&T (oops I mean Cingular, oops I mean AT&T) for over 6 years now. Not a TOTALLY satisfied customer, but much happier than with Nextel that's for sure...

Posted by: TZ - Chicago | February 29, 2008 4:41 PM

Sprint NEXTEL doesn't even care about their authorized representative dealers

Posted by: ZTWirelessview.com | March 19, 2008 1:30 AM

Back last year I had Sprint. I had to get a phone for my work at a cable company. I ordered a phone online, but after 4 days it never came, so I went to a store. Bought a phone I liked there. In the first month my service was disconnected 3 times. I went to MetroPCS after getting my first bill for...$430.

The jokes on them because they sent me my deposit back after less than a month LOL! I know work for Verizon as an indirect rep and I can tell you most people we get come from Sprint. Oh, BTW no one will buy them out... would you want to buy them if you had the money?

Posted by: D Pelkey | April 17, 2008 8:18 PM

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