How Sprint Got The iPhoneBy danseitz
Five years ago, Sprint was a dead company walking. Every quarter saw customers run to more reliable or cheaper services. It was freighted down by the Nextel network, which it couldn’t get rid of and was a massive financial drain. It was a joke.
Now, it’s become a scrappy fighter, and it’s finally getting the iPhone. What happened…and how did Sprint go from zero to hero?
Google Is a Good Friend To Have
First of all, Sprint has gotten into bed with Google in a pretty big way. First and foremost was Sprint’s complete embrace of Google Voice. Google Voice, of course, is Google’s extremely handy VoIP service, that all the mobile companies loathe because it lets people take calls without burning minutes. Sprint, on the other hand, couldn’t care less.
Similarly, they happily embraced the Nexus S and have been a great booster of Android phones. There are many reasons T-Mobile is the last iPhone bridesmaid, but one of the key ones is that Apple actually wants Sprint on its side. And that leads into…
They Finally Got Some Good Phones
My first cell phone was a Sprint…and it was crap. Seriously, just terrible. It was a Nokia bar phone that still needed an antenna, and it was the best phone of the bunch that I could afford. Even for 2004, it was a terrible phone.
Fast forward six years: Sprint has a line of HTC smartphones, some of Samsung’s best phones on the market, and even offer plenty of Android options. Somebody at Sprint realized that phones are as much about the fashion as they are about the tech, and it shows.
Willingness to Keep Prices Low
Sprint’s been number three or four in the wireless market for a while, and as a result, it’s more willing to take risks. For example, AT&T and Verizon no longer, much to the consternation of their users, offer unlimited data plans. AT&T and Verizon both claim their customers wanted tiered data plans, but we all know what it was about…squeezing money.
Sprint, on the other hand, still offers unlimited data plans. Nobody knows how long it’s going to last: the curse of the iPhone is that as it arrives to providers, it kills their unlimited data plans. But it’s worth remembering Sprint was still willing to offer it well after it could have killed the plans and asked customers “What are you going to do? Join Verizon?”
Now Sprint is sitting fairly pretty: the iPhone is coming in October, one of its biggest competitors is going through a difficult financial divorce, and it works closely with a major force in mobile. Not bad for a turn around, Sprint. Not bad at all.