Sprint counters T-Mobile's iPhone test drive by reviving 30-day 'satisfaction guarantee'
Sprint (NYSE: S) made a number of new announcements today aimed at increasing interest in its services and improving its offerings, including reinstating a 30-day satisfaction guarantee that it discontinued in 2011.
Galaxy S5 Sport
Sprint's new 30-day satisfaction guarantee, which promises to refund the cost of a user's device and service fees if they are unhappy with the carrier's service, appears to be a response to T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) new free iPhone trial, which T-Mobile launched last week. Under T-Mobile's iPhone test drive program, the carrier will give users an iPhone 5s for seven days for free to entice them to sign up for service with the carrier.
Under Sprint's new 30-day program, the carrier is promising a "risk-free experience of Sprint's improved network, exclusive Framily plan, and unique services." The carrier said that if customers aren't satisfied, Sprint will refund the cost of their device and waive all service and activation charges. The program appears to be the same as the "Free Guarantee" program that Sprint launched in 2010, which refunded the cost of a user's device and service if they weren't satisfied with the carrier's offerings. Sprint discontinued its "Free Guarantee" program in 2011, replacing it with a 14-day trial period that did not refund the cost of a user's calls and data during the period.
Sprint's new satisfaction guarantee is aimed at enticing customers to try out Sprint's newly refurbished LTE network. During a press event today, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the carrier has "turned a corner" on its network; Sprint executives earlier this year acknowledged that customers have left the carrier due to troubles with its network. Sprint is nearing the end of its Network Vision network modernization program, which involved upgrading to LTE, refreshing its CDMA network and shutting down its iDEN network. Indeed, today Sprint announced that it launched LTE in 28 new markets and launched its high-speed Sprint Spark service in three new markets. Sprint also today announced it launched its HD Voice service nationwide.
Interestingly, Sprint also announced today a new international Wi-Fi calling service, slated to be available in the coming weeks. The carrier said it will allow customers to make calls and send texts via Wi-Fi in more than 100 countries. Sprint earlier this year announced a domestic Wi-Fi calling and texting service.
At a media event today, Sprint also announced:
- It will exclusively sell the Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport, which will feature a range of health and fitness services.
- It will offer the new "Sprint Framily Wall" to its Framily Plan customers. The new "social media space" will allow Framily customers to send messages, pictures, video and share calendars, lists, contacts and more. The free version of Sprint Framily Wall includes 100 MB of storage and a premium version, for $2.99 per month, includes up to 10 GB of storage.
- It will install its new Sprint Fit Live service on all its new Android phones this year. Sprint said its Fit Live service is a "complete mobile health and fitness package giving customers instant access to their favorite fitness applications and activities, relevant health information when they want it and integration capability with their Spotify playlists." The service initially will be available on the Galaxy S5 Sport.
Sprint lost 231,000 postpaid customers and 364,000 prepaid customers in its most recent quarter. However, Sprint promised to reverse that trend in the second half of this year by posting positive net customer adds in the final six months of 2014.
T-Mobile entices consumers to 'cheat on their carrier' with 7-day free iPhone trial
Sprint's new prepaid gambit: $20 for unlimited talk or text, exclusive to Walmart
SoftBank CEO says there is less resistance to T-Mobile deal