Sprint Tries To Convince You Your Phone Sucks, Not Their Tower

Cal is at his wit’s end. After the third service outage in the past three months and going through the laundry list of troubleshooting procedures, an upper-level Sprint tech assured him there was no problem with the towers near his house. It was his phones. But when he drives just a few miles away, the signal is perfect. Then when he returns to within 250 meters of the towers near his house, his phone goes into roaming. He’s sick of the runaround and just wants Sprint to fix the towers. Here is the letter Cal wrote Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and several other top Sprint execs:

Cal writes:

In the past 3 months, I have had 3 different outages at my home. Which brings us to present day. On June 9th at 11:30pm, I noticed no signal on both the phones on my account. After repeated calls to customer service, I was asked the same questions and told to do the same procedures, time and time again ad nauseum. Today (June 13, 2011) was TRULY the straw that broke the camel’s back and an exercise in utter frustration.

After speaking with a upper-level tech, I was asked to perform new and different procedures. Everything from resetting my phone, going outside, typing in various special numbers, checking settings and so on. The tech advised me that there’s no problem with the tower so therefore, the problem must be with the handset (for 2 NEW handsets to have identical issues seems extremely unlikely), but in an attempt to rectify the situation, the tech suggested I bring my handset to a Sprint store for a diagnostic (I wonder if I would’ve been given the same option if I lived hundreds of miles from a Sprint store).

Imagine my amazement when after driving a paltry 6 miles South of my house, I had AMAZING Sprint signal on both phones. During the drive to the Sprint store, I called Customer Service back, not to cancel my service request, but being very questioning. I arrived at the store at 6:30PM and was told it was too late to do a diagnostic. Sadly disappointed and still on the phone with Customer Service, I proceeded home.

The customer service rep mentioned to me that it was SOP to give the customer the ticket number if a trouble ticket was issued. I have not received any such ticket number before this, since this problem arose. This rep also said that since my phone worked fine outside of the town I live in, the issue was very likely not with my handset.

Playing armchair detective, I asked the rep roughly where the towers were in my neighborhood. On a whim, with both phones in hand, I proceeded to circumnavigate the neighborhood. I had no coverage within 250 meters of different towers in my neighborhood and both phones were roaming in those areas. (phone or tower problem?)

As I mentioned earlier, I drove 6 miles South (obviously a different tower, but the same handsets) and had remarkable signal on Sprint’s network.

I am not asking for any major credit, only good, reliable cell phone service where I had it not one week ago.

Too much to ask?

I look forward to a rapid and reasonable solution to this problem as I hope and I know Sprint will provide, hopefully sooner rather than later.


Well Cal, as much faith as I put in a well-written complaint letter, I don’t think your heartfelt epistle is likely to get Sprint to change whatever operational/repair schedule they have for the towers in your hood. I think you should estimate the pro-rated portion of your monthly bill that you experienced the outages and ask for a refund for that. Then query your neighbors to find out what provider has reliable service in the area and consider switching. You may be able to use the lack of consistent coverage as a way to get out of paying an early termination fee.

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