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About bkrodgers

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    Member Level: Digital

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  • Phones/Devices
    Evo 4G
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    St. Louis
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    4G Information
  1. One store where I've had the experiences (several times) is a repair center, and the other isn't. I would have thought the repair center people would know more, but I've had equally poor treatment and equally misinformed comments. I think your approach is the right one. No, as a salesman you can't completely go negative even if that's the truth, but there's a balance. The problem is that most reps aren't getting good info from Sprint. They give me info that directly contradicts what Robert has here (they've told me techs have been on the towers, installing LTE in St. Louis over the past 6 months). I believe the info here much more than what they tell me. I really appreciate this community, but the gap between what Robert knows and what the people in the store know is far too wide. Sprint's doing themselves a disservice by not using their reps to help manage the situation. As I said earlier, I think it's way too early in the rollout for Sprint to be able to do broad marketing of what's coming, but using their store reps to do that in a more low key way could be effective.
  2. It's been going downhill fast in the last year, and there are parts that are not as bad as others. It also varies with time. But I know a number of other people on Sprint and I don't know of anyone who consistently gets acceptable speeds. I find it hard to believe them when they say they've *never* heard a complaint. My only point is that whether they're lying or not, they're being completely dismissive of problems, even when demonstrated on their state of the art phones in store. I think that's where they could be marketing the future better, rather than trying to dismiss problems and not being provided any accurate information to share. I recently stopped in to check out the Optimus G, and during one of these conversations the rep told me the US Cellular sale meant Sprint had bought USCC's LTE network in STL (which never launched and as far as I know was never built), and Sprint was working on integrating the LTE network hardware he claimed (incorrectly) they bought in the deal into Sprint, and Sprint customers would have access to it very soon. I knew that was wrong (and told him so), but another customer might not. Giving the reps information and training them to handle questions about the network problems would let them help market the upcoming network, rather than pissing people off and misinforming them.
  3. True, but the timing is important. At the time of the commercials, LTE and 4G were new. Getting over 5Mbps on a phone was revolutionary at that point (Sprint WiMax build outs already starting to fizzle at that point). It could be marketed as the future because it was new. But what Sprint is building now will -- again, from a consumer perspective, not a technical one -- only serve to catch them up to what VZW, ATT, and TMo have today. I don't think you can market that until it's much closer to done than it is. NV may position Sprint to lead in the future, but as far as what it will deliver immediately on completion relative to where they are now, it's a catch up move.
  4. My experience here in St. Louis is that multiple people in multiple stores will say the exact thing when I bring up any network problems. I stop by sometimes to look at new phones as they come out and it comes up when they ask why I'm not ready to upgrade even though I'm eligible. First they say I'm the first person they've ever heard complain about data speeds, which I find completely implausible based on what I and everyone I know in St. Louis on Sprint are experiencing. Then they say they use sprint all over town and it works great. I tell them Web pages take over 2 minutes to load and speed tests show under 150 Kbps, and they say "oh, well you should use wifi if you want it to be faster than that." But they'll steadfastly insist they have a great network right now, even as they acknowledge that if you want to watch a video or listen to music you need to find a wifi hot spot you can use. The conversations often include the same basic responses, which is why I suspect that they're being trained to respond this way. I realize their job is to sell, but when the problems are as significant as they are here, they'd do much better to acknowledge and apologize for the current problems, and talk about the future. That's where that could have a benefit.
  5. The problem is that this isn't the type of thing where most people care about what's coming. Sprint's just playing catch up right now, and you can't market that until you have it. Sprint may well be building a network that will be better and more future-proof then their competitors a year from now, but today, there are very few places where they can market what they have. The technical details of why NV will position Sprint's "network of the future" to at least keep up with, if not surpass, the competition are of no interest to the vast, vast, vast majority of consumers. That's why their ads lately have been very vague and pretty much limited to "hey, we have the iPhone and unlimited data," and "you don't have to share your data." There just isn't anything to sell. Any marketing they do in areas that are not significantly complete only will draw attention to their problems. Now, I would like to see them provide more information to store reps and stop training them to lie about never having heard about any problems at all with Sprint's network.
  6. Thanks Robert, that is great information and helps reassure me a bit. I didn't realize that they weren't doing 3G alongside LTE in some sites. I knew about the spectrum constraints too and about the USCC purchase, but as you said, that won't help for awhile. I'm hoping it's more that 3G hasn't been done on the sites in that area. I'll probably go ahead and donate soon to check that out -- do the sponsor maps show the 4G and 3G status of the sites separately? I of course do plan to get an LTE device. In fact I'm beyond frustrated to still be using the Evo. I'm just not willing to sign a new contract with Sprint (or give up WiMax) until I see improvements in the area I'm living. In St. Louis, where I live now, the network is unusable, and I'd been looking to my trip to Chicago (assuming I go through with a move there) to help give me some hope that sticking it out with Sprint is worth doing. But if 4G is further along than 3G, my tests didn't really tell me much. I do know there's a lot of reason for hope for their future. It's just a question of whether I can stick it out (my only motivation to do so being a legacy plan), or whether I go another route for 2 years and evaluate them again in 2015.
  7. I'm a bit concerned by what I experienced in the last week while up visiting my parents on the North Shore (Wilmette and Glenview, mainly). There were small pockets where 3G was pretty good -- 1-1.2 Mbps. But for the most part, speeds were still pretty terrible. Very often under 500 Kbps, and often under 100. And often it'd just outright fail. Today as I left town, driving down the Edens, through the Kennedy, and onto I-55 south, it was hideous the whole way. I would periodically kick off a batch of a few Rootmetrics continuous tests for a few minutes, and I was consistently getting an average of 100-200 Kbps, with only a ~60% success rate. I didn't see over 500 Kbps until I hit Joliet. I did stop by the Sprint store on Willow in Glenview, and in that store my phone (OG Evo) got a solid > 1Mbps, and the Optimus I was playing with had LTE getting about 8Mbps. But half a mile from the store, right before I got there, I was getting 130 Kbps. I'm contemplating a move from St. Louis to Chicago, and the promise of the new network that's 75% complete had me holding out hope that there would be a solid network once I got there. But unless the 25% they haven't done includes most of the north shore, Edens, Kennedy, and I-55 corridors, I'm extremely disappointed. What would explain this?
  8. I'd bet on further deterioration rather than upgrades in progress. And yes, as someone who lives in St. Louis, it's hideous in a huge percentage of the market. Worst part is that they've trained store reps to claim they "go all over St. Louis and get great speeds" and "you're the first person I've ever heard complain about the data speeds." I've heard that from multiple reps, in multiple stores, over a period of time. I refuse to believe it's anything but a bald-faced lie, and coming from so many people, I have to think they're trained to do it. It'd be nice if they'd just be honest, acknowledge there are issues, and talk up Sprint's plans for the new network. There is hope for the future. But things will probably continue to get worse before they get better.
  9. As has been said here, the contract requirement on the Value plans is a deal breaker. In fact, it kind of makes me mad...there is NO justification for requiring that you sign a contract with a $200 ETF if there's no device subsidy. I mean, of course they can require it if people will sign it, but nobody should. I realize Tmo would love to still have us locked in and have us pay for our phones ourselves, but I won't sign a contract without a subsidy. I'm fine going without a subsidy as long as the monthly rate is lower (which it is on tmo) and there's no contract. I do realize they have their monthly 4G plans that don't require a contract. But those have some features removed -- data roaming and call forwarding (so no Google Voice voicemail) among them.
  10. Oh please. People here in St. Louis still call i-64 "highway farty (40)" many decades later. :-)
  11. I think the customers were secondary. The spectrum, especially in Chicago, was what Sprint was interested, from what I've seen posted here and elsewhere. Chicago was a market where Sprint was spectrum constrained. I don't think that is true in downstate IL and St. Louis, which they also bought, but USCC may have just wanted to offload those markets in one transaction. I'm sure they don't mind the customers coming along or a competitor leaving the 3rd largest market in the country, but the spectrum was probably what brought Sprint to the table.
  12. Kind of like the Bears game yesterday...
  13. One of the things that's always bugged me as being borderline dishonest (maybe not even borderline) is to have repeaters in the store that present a completely false impression of what the network is like in a given area. I think all the carriers do it, but with the real state of Sprint's network in many places (like St. Louis), it bothers me in particular. I do realize that it's a somewhat higher concentration of handsets on the network in the store, and I also realize that even without repeaters the network can drop off from one point to another 100 feet away. But it still paints a false picture of the network to potential customers, especially in areas where nowhere within 10 miles of the store has a usable network. Anyway, I'm going to be up in the Chicago burbs later this week (Wilmette, Glenview, and the area), and I was thinking I'd stop by a Sprint store to see what the LTE network is looking like so far. Does anyone know if Sprint's already putting LTE repeaters in the store yet though? Or will I actually be on the real network if I get LTE in the store?
  14. If I had to wager, I don't think any of the answers given are what the OP was really asking. I suspect he's not looking to add additional monthly fees or an external device. So to be clear, the answer to whether the iPhone can directly be connected to the WiMax network is a definitive no.
  15. I'd assume that the metered usage agreement could -- and I'd think would -- be changed as a part of this agreement. If Sprint owns the frequencies and the customers at closing, but will continue to have USCC operate the network for a period of time, I'd think you'd be doing that under terms that are different from a standard roaming agreement. Interesting -- hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. So is the only way to make something like this work is to go a step further and change the USCC towers to Sprint's SID and push them a new PRL that has Sprint's SID as the home SID? I'd imagine doing that seamlessly would be difficult if not impractical. But I'd think that these kind of issues would have to be resolved somehow for the transition to work for USCC customers though -- assuming Sprint wants to use these frequencies right away and not wait until all customers are off the USCC network (maybe that's not a valid assumption). First, can Sprint even deploy on the frequencies without the USCC equipment being shut down? If not, wouldn't they need to have the old and new towers working seamlessly as one network for the benefit of USCC customers? Or are the complexities/impracticalities of this going to dictate that Sprint can't put these frequencies to use for the Sprint network for a couple years when they can completely shut the USCC network down?
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