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  • 15. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    KCGILBERT Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Tom,

         Thank you for the reply. Glad you had been saving the information. it has obviously come in handy. Hopefully Sprint will see the error of their ways and start improving things. But between this and if they do not bring on the Pre3 I will just pack things up.

    Thanks Again,

    Kevin

  • 16. Re: Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    TOMAS_ Gold Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    OK, found more bits and pieces of info that goes a long way to explaining the recent causes of the problem, but not the the reasoning - or lack thereof - that lead to it.

     

    Let's start here, when Sprint once again chose to renew the full data and voice reciprocal agreement between them and Alltel. This agreement was for full reciprocity - Sprint customers using Alltel networks and Alltel customers using Sprint networks as if they were "native," instead of building out duplicate networks.

     

    This contract was signed between Sprint and Alltel to be effective 01JUL2006 through 01JUL 2016.

     


    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — 05/09/2006

     

    Sprint (NYSE: S) today announced a renewal and expansion of a reciprocal nationwide roaming agreement with Alltel that enhances customer access to each other's wireless networks. The new 10-year agreement is effective July 1, 2006, and encompasses CDMA voice, data and EV-DO high-speed mobile data services.

     

    "The new agreement expands our current voice and data roaming relationship while providing customers greater access to services in more places," said Len Lauer, chief operating officer for Sprint. "Our technology alignment ensures an improved seamless roaming experience for text messaging, call/messaging notification and mobile broadband services."

     

    More: http://newsroom.sprint.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=106


     

    With Verizon's purchase of Alltel in 2008 (finalized, 2009) Verizon was required by the federal government to continue the roaming agreements on the Alltel network they were acquiring for only four years...

     


    The FCC’s approval of the merger is contingent on the new Verizon guaranteeing that both Verizon’s and Alltel’s current roaming agreements will remain in place for at least four years. The devil is in the details, and the exact terms of these contingencies won’t be fully understood until the final ruling is examined. Some will ask that while four years does provide some stability, what happens in year five?

     

    More: http://www.telecompetitor.com/verizon-alltel-merger-provides-roaming-guarantees/


     

    Obviously, we are approaching year five...

     

    However, an additional federal requirement was for Verizon to sell off assets in areas where they already had their own network in place - and that included a huge list of areas including Montana, North and South Dakotas, etc. The buyer of those divested areas, in June of 2010, turned out to be AT&T, and as of earlier this year, AT&T has completed the conversion of those assets to GSM service, incompatible with CDMA devices such as those used by Sprint customers...

     

    Here's Verizon's take on that: http://news.vzw.com/news/2009/01/pr2009-01-09.html

     

    ...and here is a map showing the end result of who got what of the divested assets: http://www.cellularmaps.com/alltel_divest.shtml

     

    This is in large part why Sprint was so intense in it's recent lobbying of the FCC to require full data roaming at reasonable rates.

     

    Sprint's prior agreements with Alltel were mutually beneficial and fully reciprocal. Sprints agreements with Verizon, however, are one-way-only with Sprint having to pay exorbitant fees to Verizon for 1xRTT data roaming by it's customers on Verizon's network, and not having EVDO roaming allowed. (Verizon does not roam it's customers to Sprint at all, I understand.)

     

    Thankfully, the FCC has just ruled that full data roaming at "reasonable" negotiated rates must be offered, BUT Verizon is violently opposed to and is likely to take to court. (Likely result: The order being considerably delayed, and the smaller carriers being so damaged while waiting that Verizon can easily buy them up.)

     

    In any case, we, the customers, are left out in the cold once again while the suits in the corner offices and their lawyers fight their pitched battles, much more worried about making money than they are about their customers.

     

    Tom

     

    P.S. Just as an aside, those former Alltel customers who are now magically AT&T customers are also getting the short end of the stick when they travel away from home. Most of "Rural America" is CDMA service, not GSM service such as AT&T has. Formerly Alltel customers were able to travel much of the rural landscape being handed off from one small rural co-op to another for continuous service. Now, since they are AT&T GSM based customers, as soon as they are out of their home area they have NO service, since for the most part the only rural service available is CDMA. Here is one small company's take on that: http://www.midrivers.com/cellular-changes/

     

    AT&T has also admitted that it's ex-Alltel customers will not get service in as wide an area s they did before becoming AT&T customers and being forced onto new phones: http://www.ktvq.com/news/atandt-responds-to-customer-concerns-about-service-in-montana/

     

    T

  • 17. Re: Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    3020fjr2 Bronze Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    att old attel.jpg

    According to this map att bought this costumers / network. In the article that tom posted http://www.midrivers.com/cellular-changes/ "AT&T may choose to maintain the CDMA signal on their cell sites for roaming purposes, or they may choose to turn off that CDMA signal at some point after the transition to GSM is completed"

    I would wonder why Sprint would not buy the network already in place since ATT has not use for it apart for leaving it for roaming.

  • 18. Re: Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    TOMAS_ Gold Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    3020fjr wrote:

     

    att old attel.jpg

    According to this map att bought this costumers / network. In the article that tom posted http://www.midrivers.com/cellular-changes/ "AT&T may choose to maintain the CDMA signal on their cell sites for roaming purposes, or they may choose to turn off that CDMA signal at some point after the transition to GSM is completed"

    I would wonder why Sprint would not buy the network already in place since ATT has not use for it apart for leaving it for roaming.

     

    Actually  AT&T does have a use for the towers, antennas, buildings, power,  backhaul bandwidth, essentially everyting except the minor bits and  pieces of CDMA electronics. That means AT&T is already probably  re-using every bit of the hardware and bandwidth except those CDMA unique bits.

     

    Trying  to run both networks from the towers will most likely require more  antennas, more equipment space, more power, double the bandwidth build  out, etc. I can't see Sprint wanting to pay AT&T lease fees for  every bit of that "extra" at a rate profitable to AT&T...

     

    It  was OK when it was simply "free" for allowing Alltel customers to use  Sprint's network (a mutually beneficial agreement), but I can imagine  the extreme pricing that either AT&T or Verizon would offer Sprint,  for Sprint to "co-locate" their equipment, antennas, and the huge additional  cost to haul their bandwidth to the closest Sprint switching center,  likely several states away.

     

    Not really practical. Would  probably cost less in the long run for Sprint to build from scratch, but that  leaves Sprint's customer with no adequate service until they can build out their  network across thousands of square miles.

     

    If the big  guys *cough* Verizon *cough* are not forced by the FCC to share 3G data  service with the companies that do not have network built in the area,  customers are left without good service choices: Do  without or go to the big company.

     

    Which do you think the big company would prefer?

     

    Tom

  • 19. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    RobertWMcGuire Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    I purchased the EVO to use it as a hub (along with the 4G phone service) and guess what ... even in 4G areas, the HotSpot function reduces the network connection to 3G speeds (which has a limit on the data).  Bummer.  I didn't buy into what I now have to live with, or break the contract (can you say penalty??).

  • 20. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    Roam_Expert_2 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Tomas,

    Sorry for the delay in response to your blog. Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming were divested (areas) in the Allte/Verizon merger and purchased by AT&T , that’s public notice. Because of the divestiture, Sprint's roaming agreements have changed as of March 1, 2010.  This area is now domestic roaming, where Sprint offers voice and 1xRTT data roaming. We no longer offer 3G/EVDO roaming for this location. Customers in these areas will have their roaming icon present.  Sprint did send out notification to customers in the January and February invoice and updated voice and data maps on March 1.

     

    Thank you,

    Roam_Expert_2

  • 21. Re: Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    TOMAS_ Gold Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Roam_Expert_2 wrote:

     

    Hi Tomas,

    Sorry for the delay in response to your blog. Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming were divested (areas) in the Allte/Verizon merger and purchased by AT&T , that’s public notice. Because of the divestiture, Sprint's roaming agreements have changed as of March 1, 2010.  This area is now domestic roaming, where Sprint offers voice and 1xRTT data roaming. We no longer offer 3G/EVDO roaming for this location. Customers in these areas will have their roaming icon present.  Sprint did send out notification to customers in the January and February invoice and updated voice and data maps on March 1.

     

    Thank you,

    Roam_Expert_2

    OK, here's what was included in my "Important Information" in my on-line only Sprint bills:

     

    January 25 bill:


    Important Network Coverage Change

    Effective 3/1/11, on-network coverage in portions of Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming will change to off-network/roaming coverage. Please review your plan details for roaming restrictions and sprint.com/coveragechange for coverage details.


     

    February 25 bill:


    Important Network Coverage Change

    Effective 3/1/11, on-network coverage in portions of Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming will change to off-network/roaming coverage. Please review your plan details for roaming restrictions and sprint.com/coveragechange for coverage details.


     

    When I "review my plan details" it shows that roaming is included, and that my add-ons include Sprint Navigation:

     


    Plan Details

    (253) 282-XXXX

    Your Base Plan includes

    SERO Premium, America - Roaming Included, Any Mobile Anytime, Anytime Minutes, Caller ID, Cellular Minutes, Domestic LD Rate $0, Enhanced VoiceMail, Long Distance While Roaming

    Add On Services for (253) 282-XXXX

    Unlimited Nights&Weekends-7pm, Unlimited Messaging, GPS Navigation, Picture Mail, Data Usage


     

    If one is daring and goes to the suggested "sprint.com/coveragechange" page, one gets a blank page - which is obviously tremendously helpful...

     

    There is nothing in any of the above that would flag location services as being unavailable in over half of the land mass of the United States, nor is there anything at all indicating that 3G services are now suddenly unavailable in areas that previously had 3G services.

     

    Looking at the notices in my billing, and in turn reviewing my Plan Details simply show that I will be digital roaming, and that such is included in my plan.

     

    There is no hint from Sprint that a vital service like Sprint Navigation will no longer be available when traveling.

     

    Only by chance when looking for other information did I stumble across this information buried in the national coverage map details.

     

    That leaves two questions: 1) Why no notification to Sprint customers that their location services had been cut off at the ankles, and 2) when will this be corrected so that we again have nationwide coverage as advertised and that we are paying for?

     

    (...and I do not want to hear that Sprint has no current plans dealing with this massive reduction in service - this is not something that just happened overnight.)

     

    Thanks for stopping by this thread!

     

    Tom

  • 22. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    TOMAS_ Gold Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Oh! A third question: 3) what happened to the "roaming as if native coverage" contract with Alltel that was in-place until 2016?

     

    In buy-outs of companies, the new owner buys not only the "company" and its "assets," but also it's "obligations" (monies owed, contracts, etc.).

     

    That should have been figured into Verizon's cost of doing business after buying Alltel, and should also have been figured into AT&Ts cost of doing business after buying the divested service areas from Verizon.

     

    (It also is incumbent on Sprint to do the best it can to enforce existing contracts and if that fails, to have backup plans that cover their customers and provide expected, paid for, advertised, and contracted services to them.)

  • 23. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    FRANK828 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    is this the type of thing i can use to get out of my contract?  i still have a year left since i upgraded to my Evo on launch day. 

    i was REALLLLLY looking forward to having the Evo 3D.  ugh.

  • 24. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    BMHORSFALL01 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    Wow, thanks for bringing this to my attention.  Looks like the "now" network is no more.

    I was thinking of getting a nexus s 4g and renewing my contract with Sprint, but rural coverage is important to me, so now it looks like I need to go to Big Red.

  • 25. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    Roam_Expert_2 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    Tomas,

     

    When the notice was provided in customer invoices, the informational websidt (www.sprint.com/coveragechange) was provided to answer FAQs and provide a before and after view.  Once the change took place and coverage tool (www.sprint.com/coverage) was updated, March 1, the page was to expire.  However if you did happen to read the FAQs at the time you received your invoice, you sould have found reference to what would no longer be supported while roaming (roaming icon present).  We identified any impacts to voice and data products in hope that our customers would view this.  Unfortnately it's impossible to identify subscribers who use our various products and indivdually notify them or call them all out on an invoice message.

    Also, if you view the Sprint coverage tool, www.sprint.com/coverage and click 3G and More, you'll find a link for services available. Which provide you with services available while on the Sprint network and while roaming.

     

    sct_services.bmpsct_serv_data.bmp

  • 26. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    Roam_Expert_2 Sprint Employee
    Currently Being Moderated

    We aprpeciate the feedback. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on any roaming agreements or activities around them.  We continually evaulate our roaming agreements and roaming services offered.

  • 27. Re: Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    TOMAS_ Gold Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Roam_Expert_2 wrote:

     

    We aprpeciate the feedback. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on any roaming agreements or activities around them.  We continually evaulate our roaming agreements and roaming services offered.

    I just hope that Sprint understands that the "feedback" may take the form of customers moving to a true nationwide carrier where they can continue to get the mobile services they depend on while traveling.

     

    BTW, you keep referring to us bothering to read our invoice messages. Many of us do not receive invoices to read, we are notified of our bill each month via email which tells us how much is owed and when payment is due. So long as Sprint has not screwed up again and double billed us or something, we simply nod in relief and pay.

     

    If we want to see "page two" of our invoice, it is possible to do so on line... one must find the tiny print links on three slowly loading Sprint pages before getting to the 4th slowly loading page that finally refers us to our plan details page which simply shows that all roaming is covered in the cost of our plan.

     

    There is no link to the plan details page from the one sentence notice - one must randomly search until one finds a link in small print on another page, and there are no links to the coverage change page anywhere I can find on any Sprint page - it must be manually entered by entering its URL in one's browser.

     

    Yeah, I know, Sprint met it's notification requirements* and in their mind adequately notified it's customers of this minor detail (loss of a critical service across vast areas of the United States while traveling), heck, Sprint could almost just tell us to read chicken entrails and meet the notification requirements they have set up in their Terms and Conditions. That doesn't mean that more than a few affected customers ever saw it.

     

    In any case, this is not about notification, it is about no longer being able to use Sprint Navigation when it is most needed: When traveling.

     

    All else is simply random noise.

     

    If a vital service that many of us used is suddenly no longer available because of how Sprint chose to respond to a change in their relationships to other companies, some of us must search out a company that will continue to provide us that service. Right now that appears to be any of the national carriers except Sprint.

     

    If Sprint feels that they owe nothing to their customers in the way of explanation, and owes nothing to their customers to correct their decision to not continue this service, then perhaps the customers owe nothing to Sprint. Loyalty is a two way street: You want us to be loyal to Sprint, but you must earn that loyalty by showing some to us.

     

    Tom

     

    * "We will provide you notice through one or more of the following: in your  bill, correspondence to your last known billing address, to any fax  number or e-mail address you've provided us, by calling you on your  Device or any other phone number you've provided us, by voice message on  your Device or any other phone number you've provided us, or by text  message on your Device."

  • 28. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    YIBRUSHN1 Regular Visitor
    Currently Being Moderated

    I'm just shocked Sprint let it come to this! It severly undermines my confindence in the brand as a whole. I've recommended Sprint to MANY people and touted the advantages to anyone who would listen. While I might not move my 5 lines over to another company I have severe reservations about recommending Sprint to anyone else now. It's really a sad day, I'm glad this issue is getting some attention here and I hope that awareness spreads and prompts Sprint to take action!

  • 29. Voice and 3G coverage being drastically reduced
    badankles Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    Roam_Expert_2 wrote:

     

    We aprpeciate the feedback. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on any roaming agreements or activities around them.  We continually evaulate our roaming agreements and roaming services offered.

    i don't doubt that sprint notified me of a "change", and it is my  fault for not following up on it at the time.  still, i did not expect a  reduction of coverage the extent of it.  it would be good to know if  sprint is working to improve that coverage or is it actually going to be  worse before it gets better as the focus is on 4G and there's no money  allocated to improve 3G coverage (roaming).

     

    this reduction of coverage, recent increase in charges  ($10/mon for all smartphones) along with premier status change make it  hard to justify why sprint is better than the other national carriers.

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