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Sprint is getting its butt kicked, but not from where you would think.

Discussion in 'Sprint' started by twospirits, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor
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    It was bound to happen, as the saying goes heads will roll, if you don't get with the program, then so long see ya goodbye.

    According to this write up by Softbanks' own Masayoshi Son, he expresses how he does things from learning from the past mistakes and within the article mentions how he yells at Sprint executives for not taking the bulls by the horns and correcting stuff that should be corrected.
    He had them terminate all existing marketing contracts to start over from scratch. (The current marketing commercials are really bad). He goes on further to say that
    Bottom line, shape up or expect to be replaced and that goes from the top down. As much as I like Hesse, it does seem that these guys are stuck in a old time mindset and can't get out. If they do not change their ways and do it quickly, Son will replace Hesse regardless of being friends and bring in new blood.

    I originally shudder at the thought that some wished that if the rumored merger goes through between Sprint and T-Mobile that T-Mobile take over Sprint instead of the other way around. I based this feeling due to the way Legere acts in public. But with the recent undertaking that T-Mobile has made of late with their Uncarrier marketing, one cannot deny they are making an impact. Granted Legere is as unprofessional as they come and more of a clown that appeals to the masses but at the end of the day it seems to be working for them. They have a good marketing team and if Hesse and company do not get it together, it may very well come down to Son replacing the executives at Sprint with the Executives of T-Mobile if the merger takes place.

    TS out
     

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  2. MLSS

    MLSS Android Expert
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    I think Softbank needs to step in and take more control, and from where I am sitting it seems like they are starting to do that.

    Sprint has to find a way to appeal to the masses, and by masses I mean the 15 to 25 year old market.
     
  3. smitty543

    smitty543 Android Enthusiast
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    Agree. The "coverage maps" show that I live in a strongest LTE signal area, but my HTC LTE gets no 4G signal and only a modest 3G signal. This is when I am outside my home, so "home construction" cannot be the excuse. Similarly, I get minimal phone signal in and around the house. Hopefully Sprint moves beyond the "PR Hype" of the new improvements and is able to usher in an era as a meaningful, reliable functioning wireless carrier. I live in the West Palm Beach - Ft. Lauderdale, FL area.
     
  4. kate

    kate Dreaming of Bugdroid.
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    Their reputation for having poor reception seems to be one of the biggest negatives for them. Assuming the finished Network Vision improves signal strength and coverage areas, word should slowly get around that they have improved.
     
  5. jmatherly411

    jmatherly411 Android Enthusiast
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    You can't go by Sprint's LTE coverage map, the coverage map is a estimate of the LTE coverage once the build out is 100% complete in your area. So yes, home construction aka "network vision" can be the excuse.

    Network Vision will improve signal strength three fold once sites get the 800MHz switch flipped on for 1x voice.
     
  6. catpowrd

    catpowrd Well-Known Member
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    They are moving at such a snails pace with this NV it will be outdated by the time they are done. Installing one 4g tower in 80 miles then quitting for 8 or 9 months just doesn't cut it. They need to get 100% done in the next few months then start filling in coverage in all the dead/roam zones. Ridiculous to drive 30 miles in a roam area with only 1x data and have them warn you about using too much data while on roam.

    Sprint needs a major overhaul if they are to stay around. Do other carriers even have roaming limits anymore?
     
  7. catpowrd

    catpowrd Well-Known Member
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    On another note Sprint might be in pretty good shape in a couple years compared to other carriers with rebanding the old Nextel 800mhz and the old WiMax band. Question is will they pull it off or will they bungle it somehow. Good to see there maybe a good shakeup coming.
     
  8. drexappeal

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    It's about time an executive started taking a pro-active approach to getting Sprint on the right track. I have supported Hesse, since he first took over, as I did see improvements from where Sprint was headed initially, but that initial progress that he made definitely seems to have stalled. I'm crossing my fingers that Softbank can do something to make the experience better for customers. As content as I have been with Sprint, over the years, I actually would welcome a T-Mobile merger, if that meant that I could have the best of both worlds (e.g. faster 3g/LTE speeds and expanded coverage).
     
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  9. Rigmaster

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    SB has way too much money invested to let the stall linger on for too long. As to heads rolling, that's probably coming as well. I'm not sure that it's Sprint's execs being stuck so much as Sprint's execs not wanting to break out.

    It's pretty simple. Offer solid-signal, reasonably fast LTE at a fair price in more major markets.

    Tough to live with this fact, but Sprint needs to win in major metro markets. It's good enough in most of the non-majors for now. The money/subscribers are in major markets for the taking. I'm pretty sure SB's CEO sees that, and I hope that gives him pause from needless distractions like merging with TMo.

    Again, consumers benefit from competition in open markets. Mega-opolies can be beat at what they do. Sprint just has to excel on execution, not new ideas.
     
  10. shmn

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    You can change your mindset all you want...but as long as your network does suck...there is only so much you can do.

    Sprint has been promising improvements for years and it looks like there have been improvements. But I still see data speeds in the 5-50kbps range which sucks big time. Unlimited 'mid 90's modem speeds' doesn't cut it these days. 4G is spotty and very limited in my area and until this network is improved, mindset doesn't mean anything.
     
  11. storageman

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    Or just the opposite. The coverage map for my area show NO LTE support, but it seems like everytime I stop at a traffic light and look at my phone, The LTE indicator is on ! :rolleyes:
     
  12. dan330

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    someone at the top.. finally are forcing the execs in the ivory tower to open their eyes. see what is happening in the here and now. things need to change. not just more marketing hype, and smoke and mirrors.

    I hope they can see and understand.. before it is too late.
     
  13. ToBeAnonymous

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    I had found this in looking int what the hold up is in getting the NV completed and why its taking so long. I am a current Sprint user and also an Employee. I also worked for verizon wireless before i made the transition to work for sprint and when i worked for VZW i was there through their 4g upgrade and it did not take this long. So i found this information interesting.


    Sprint has network problems. Major problems. And they've gotten a lot worse lately. Really, really bad. Not all areas are affected - and in fact some have improved already, but more and more areas are getting so bad that Sprint's 3G data is completely unusable there, especially since the introduction of the iPhone. Troubleshooting and update my phone's "profile" and PRL didn't help, as evident from the screenshot #2 you see below.

    Earlier this week I contacted Sprint's customer service, followed by an email to an executive and CEO Dan Hesse himself (or whoever fields his emails). The former told me there was a tower outage in my area, and a fix was incoming the next day (as you've guessed nothing is fixed as of today, 5 days later). The latter, however, kicked things into high gear.

    I got a couple of callbacks and emails from Dan's office within a few hours, followed by a special department that Sprint calls TRV Escalations picking up my case. This department selectively takes serious complaints that don't get resolved by the first couple of levels of customer service and has the power to send out field engineers, analyze tower information, collect test data from the device, and generally inform whoever is dealing with them about what's going on with the network. These guys seem to know what they're talking about, and I got a feeling they're genuinely interested in getting problems resolved. Ticket counts need to go down and all that jazz - we get it.

    After conversing with TRV Escalations a few times and sending them some data (speed tests, tower information, PRL, etc), I was able to assemble a picture of what's been going on with the Sprint network in the past year or so, what's going on with it now, and what's going to happen in the future. Some of this information may be common knowledge, some may be new to you, so I will summarize everything I've learned in my favorite bullet point style.

    *

    Sprint's network problems
    When Sprint starting seeing a massive spike and subsequent slowdown of the EV-DO (3G) network last year, upgrades slated for the end of 2010 were scheduled to keep up with capacity demands.
    These upgrades never happened. The tech quoted me "shortage of rare parts" as the single biggest reason - Sprint had only enough parts to maintain its existing infrastructure and perform repairs on existing towers.
    The explosion in popularity of Android phones on the Sprint network was the primary reason for network capacity issues (no surprise there).
    The iPhone launch indeed affected the network as of late and slowed it down even further (which is what I and many other have noticed). Sure, the iPhone may be more efficient at using data, but the amount of people upgrading from feature-phones and switching to Sprint for its unlimited data exceeds the offset of those switching from Android to iPhone.
    Back to network upgrades - the situation got so bad that the department started getting flooded with trouble tickets.
    Finally, around May/June of 2011, the parts supply resumed and network upgrades slowly started rolling out.
    Tower upgrades to deal with EV-DO (3G) traffic are going to pick up towards the end of the year (starting right about now) and well into the next year.
    Network Vision, LTE, WiMax, upgrades
    There are a few things Sprint is doing to upgrade the towers: something they call Network Vision. Network Vision is a special codename for an upgrade plan that consists of:
    Increasing capacity (more bandwidth available to the tower).
    Moving the power source closer to the transmitter - this should improve signal strength by about 10%, which really isn't much.
    Moving to LTE.
    Combining 3G and 4G base stations into multi-mode base stations (check out the Sprint Network Vision Information Center)
    LTE will start rolling out towards mid-2012 (we already know a much improved LTE-Advanced will also be rolling out in 2013).
    By 2013, LTE should cover *all* current Sprint 3G customers.
    (It is my opinion that the future is very bright with Sprint once these network upgrades are rolled out. 2013+ is going to be a magnificent time to be on Sprint, if they execute right and keep their unlimited data plans.)
    WiMax will stay on till at least the end of 2013 to provide service to existing 4G devices.
    I'm not sure whether this is part of Network Vision or not (I don't think it is), but there is a plan to repurpose the current iDEN 800MHz network to work with compatible 3G devices. The devices will automatically switch between 800MHz and 1900MHz depending on signal strength, location, etc. Lower frequency allows for better building penetration and covers a larger area, so this should help improve signal in many places. For comparison, WiMax is 2.5GHz and has poor building penetration. It's also why it's much spottier than LTE (don't quote me on this, but I think Sprint is planning to roll out LTE using 1900MHz and 800MHz, while Verizon's operates on 700MHz). I didn't catch an estimate of when this upgrade would be completed.
    Unsurprisingly, none of the existing WiMax devices will be compatible with the LTE network - a software upgrade wouldn't magically make them compatible - a new radio is needed.
    The Bay Area
    In the Bay Area, where I was complaining about ultra-low speeds, Network Vision is not scheduled yet, but emergency capacity upgrades (they called it adding an EV-DO carrier) to a series of towers are planned ahead of that.
    From what I gathered, most towers in the area operate using 2 voice carriers and 1 EV-DO carrier.
    Specifically, I gave the tech 3 areas where I had measly speeds and latency; he went into the system, looked at usage levels for those towers, and found that while they were rated to operate normally at 5-8k EV-DO connections, those towers had anywhere from 10k to 18k connections. You can see how that could be problematic. The Now Network is almost bursting at the seams.
    Apparently, all the towers in the areas that I reported (San Francisco around City College, a stretch from Millbrae to Hayward Park, and Palo Alto to Mountain View) are scheduled to receive capacity upgrades on October 31st, with another week or so for them to become fully operational. These capacity upgrades consist of adding a single additional EV-DO carrier to increase throughput.
    In my case, there was no point to send a field tech to those locations - the problem was already apparent, my speed test screenshots that I emailed TRV Escalations showed it quite clearly, and upgrades were scheduled. We'll see what happens when and if they're completed - I'm not holding my breath just yet.
    More tower upgrades are scheduled in the Bay Area in December 2011 and next year in addition to October 2011.
    Random facts
    And a few random facts that don't fit in above:

    Surprisingly, Sprint uses the SpeedTest.net app to run data speed tests. They don't have an in-house app or servers to do this, so they opt in to use a pretty much de-facto standard. Outside of a few bugs after the LTE network was released, the Speedtest app has been reliable, especially in diagnosing slow connection issues.
    There are no known plans to upgrade any existing or future devices to EV-DO Rev.B which would improve certain aspects quite a bit, such as bandwidth, latency, power efficiency, and interference (to me, this sounds like a great standard to move to for 3G, doesn't it, Sprint?)
    The techs can't pull up historical data speeds or monitor them on demand using some in-house app (that would help a lot, in my opinion) - they need screenshots of speed tests and debug data off the phones at the time signal is bad.
    I suggested a system that would show a map of network upgrades for customers to see that something - anything - is being done to fix the network. Just knowing that there's activity would alleviate concerns. For example, there were no 4G updates from Sprint for almost a year, making people unhappy/not confident in the network's future. I realize such a system is my wishful thinking, as Sprint would rather prefer to not disclose it has problems and where they are, so I don't think it'll ever materialize.
    Late addition: Forgot to mention this earlier. I brought up the fact that every single Android phone I've tried with Sprint doesn't show when 3G goes to 1x (which oftentimes explains slow data). The phone's reception indicator simply continues to show 3G. It was only when I moved to CyanogenMod that I saw 1x show up in the notification bar, and it was there a whole lot more often than I thought. The tech blamed Android and custom OS flavors, but I'm not buying it. I am willing to put money on the fact that Sprint specifically disabled the 1x indicator to make it seem like it had 3G everywhere.
    So, as you can tell, the wheels to make the Now Network better and faster are in motion, or so Sprint tells me. After reading this message by another customer who was promised tower upgrades first by the end of July, then end of October, and now end of December, I am not holding my breath too hard. But I do think Sprint will sort this mess out and has already started doing so.

    I hope my research into the matter has been helpful - don't hesitate to ask any questions or correct me if I got any of the information wrong - it was collected over a period of about a week from numerous phone conversations.
     
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  14. twospirits

    twospirits AF's janitor
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    the independent s4gru.com website has more thorough details of network vision with maps tests etc that showcase each Sprint site.

    The SignalCheckPro android app in the market outlines true LTE signal and even has notifications icons to indicate when you are connected, how far away from the site etc.

    I don't recall which speed test app is better, but I have quite a few on my device and all three give me different results.

    TS
     

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