wengla02:Good day, and welcome to our live event.
wengla02:We will be starting in 3 minutes. You are welcome to submit your questions now.
wengla02:Not all questions will be published, nor will all questions be answered. We thank you for your interest!
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Hello everyone. Art here from the Premier team. We're here ready to begin in a bit. Looking forward to a great dialog!
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Is Sprint going to offer an alterative loyalty program to long time customers?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:This is a conistent message we're hearing from our customers. As we consider future options for loyalty programs, customer tenure would be a primary consideration.
[Comment From SA_DgoodSA_Dgood: ]Thank you art!
[Comment From BlueMoonCoBlueMoonCo: ]Will you consider allowing the 10+ year customers to keep our annual upgrade?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Unfortunately we're not able to do that at this time.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Do you have any time frame for when that new loyalty program will be launched?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:We don't know for sure that we will have a new loyalty program but all options are on the table and will be considered as we go forward.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]I only found out about these changes via the forum. Why wasn't I sent anything in the mail?
wengla02:We have been sending out letters and bill inserts; if you haven't received notification yet you will
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Is the New For You 20 month upgrade program any different from the 22 month one?
wengla02:No - it's the same program, just 2 months earlier.
[Comment From AnneAnne: ]I'm paperless for the rest of my communication and got a mailed notification yesterday.
[Comment From nasnas: ]Well i got my this week so Sprint is sending them
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Why did you do this live chat if there is nothing you plan to do?
wengla02:We are hosting the chat to make sure we get your questions answered about the exit of the Premier Program. Thanks for joining!
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]I spend $115 per month with you on my single phone. I was only staying with you because I could get a new phone every year. Why should I stay with you now?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:We understand that you have many choices in wireless carriers. But when it comes down to it, we have the best overall value. For instance, we're the only national carrier with unlimited data on handsets.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Why is it taking so long for you to post new questions and anwers?
wengla02:We have over 40 questions in queue; we are working to get a couple of the hard ones answered (financial stuff...)
[Comment From AnneAnne: ]Could you explain the primary financial motivation for ditching the SP program? Was it really costing that much money in annual upgrades?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:You'd be surprised as to how many $$$ we spent subsidizing handsets to be competitive. With the growth of smartphones and data usage, it's just not economically sustainable. Now of course everyone has a computer in their pocket which costs $400-500 each or more. We have chosen to commit to unlimited data on handsets at this time.
[Comment From MarcMarc: ]With the end of the Premier Program, if I am currently eligible for an upgrade and I use it, do I get one more by December 2012?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:If you take advantage of your annual upgrade now, you will get one more annual upgrade by 12/31/12.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]I assume with the demise of the "Sprint Premier" customer, so goes away the Sprint Premier Forum??
wengla02:We'll keep the Premiere forum open for a while; it may be folded into another Space on the site in the future.
[Comment From TerryTerry: ]Aside from unlimited data, what benefits does sprint offer to their customers now that all premier plans are dying?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Our plan pricing is still extremely competitive against the national carriers. To clarify, Premier did not affect your monthly pricing but was an additional benefit beyond our price plans. The close of Premier does not affect your monthly rate or any other discounts you may be receiving.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Why doesn't Sprint offer any consolation "gift" to Premier members to soften the blow? Like $5-$10 credit
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Knowing that customers would be disappointed with Premier ending, we allowed all Premier benefits to continue through the end of this year, and also gave Premier Gold customers through the end of next year to use their annual upgrade benefit.
[Comment From hug4lifehug4life: ]Even though the program will come to a close, will we still be first in line to the new phones coming out or am I wrong about this ever existing?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:We'll continue to review ways to provide customers with special "First to buy" benefits. You can sign up to receive future emails on these opportunities by logging in on sprint.com and clicking on the Premier information box to the right.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:If you are Premier Gold, once you take advantage of your annual upgrade you will eligible for your next upgrade after 20 months under our standard upgrade program.
Going forward, all customers under the "New For You" policy will move to a 20 month upgrade cycle after their next upgrade.
[Comment From riskybznsriskybzns: ]I haven't had a chance to read about this, but in short, does this mean Sprint is doing away with the upgrade every 2 years?
[Comment From BlueMoonCoBlueMoonCo: ]Is Mr. Hesse aware of the discontent regarding this change?
[Comment From BlueMoonCoBlueMoonCo: ]Do you relay our concerns and discontent to the executive team?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Yes, we absolutely relay your concerns to the top levels of the organization.
wengla02:(and as a side note, I'll be sending this chat transcript up to our company directors)
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Are all the benefits of the program going away? What about the anniversay gifts?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:The benefits shared by Gold and Silver -- including Anniversary gift -- will remain until the end of this year. Customers can redeem anniversary gifts 15 days before and 15 days after their anniversary month. So, if you have an anniversary in Dec., you will have until Jan 15. to redeem it.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Yes, but the chat transcript only has printed what you decide t print
wengla02:The transcript we have includes all asked questions - they'll *all* be sent upstairs.
[Comment From MarcMarc: ]Being a "former" Gold Premiere, I am currently eligible for an upgrade. When must it be used by? Also, is there another upgrade after that (to be used by December 2012?). The wording I've seen from Sprint is a bit misleading.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Marc, please send a private message to SP_ARTLOVESKC to make sure we are addressing your account-specific question. Thanks!
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]When was the decision made to end Premier?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:This choice was made over the last few months and have been working on the customer impacts ever since. We made the difficult decision to end the program so we could continue to invest in unlimited data on handsets and extend our commitment to enhance the network.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]I have actually seen service decline in my area, when will I notice any improvement?
wengla02:Not related to Premier but we do have the Network Vision program rolling out; google 'Network Vision'.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]What percentage of total customers have been with sprint at least 10 years?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Roughly half of the Premier Gold customers have been with Sprint more than 10 years. We understand this may seem like we aren't honoring your loyalty, but in fact we're making these moves to deliver on unlimited data on handsets and innovative handsets.
[Comment From riskybznsriskybzns: ]I'm assuming artloveskc is from Kansas City???
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Yep, I'm proud to be born and bred in KC - go Chiefs! Er, go Royals! Um, never mind.
[Comment From Keshia500Keshia500: ]My 10 year anniversary is not until January. When will my premier status change and will I continue to be eligible to upgrade yearly?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:No. Unfortunately these changes have already taken place, and we will not be bringing new customers into the "Gold" tier. The Sprint Premier program will end as of 12/31/11 so no one will be Premier after that date.
[Comment From JobbJobb: ]Will there be any discount for purchasing a phone after 12 months?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:No, the $75 upgrade discount has been discontinued.
[Comment From JobbJobb: ]We want to know. If we are eligible for an upgrade before the end of the year, can we get another upgrade before 12/31/12
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Gold customers -- who aren't already immediately eligible to upgrade under New For You -- will have until the end of 2012 to take advantage of your last qualifying annual upgrade. After you take advantage of that annual upgrade, you will move under the Sprint New For You upgrade program and be eligible in 20 months.
Regarding your specific account situation, in the letter you will/have received, it will give you your personalized eligibility dates. If you still have questions, please send me a private message to address your specific account scenario.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]When should this letter arrive by? Nothing has come yet for me and I am concerned,
wengla02:You should get your information by mid-October.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]I am a gold member literally counting the days until I can (could?) do my annual upgrade (November 9). I am now stick with a crappy phone until next year?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:You can absolutely still take advantage of your upgrade after Nov 9. Feel free to upgrade any time after that date. You will not lose your upgrade as a result of the Premier close.
[Comment From ScottScott: ]I can't figure out what practical changes are involved? Am I going to be cut in the amount of minutes, data or text involved?
wengla02:Premier Gold customers - who aren?t already eligible under the ?New For You? program ? have until the end of 2012 to take advantage of their last annual upgrade.
All Premier customers will be able to redeem or take advantage of all of their current benefits including accessory discounts, Just Because Perks, Premier Community and complimentary plan check-ups through Dec. 31, 2011.
Sprint will continue to notify customers who reach their Service Anniversary date through December. Customers enjoying December anniversaries will have until Jan. 15, 2012 to redeem their gift.; you can find all the details at
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Again, what is the total percentage of Sprint customers that have been with Sprint for over 10 years. Not the percentage of Premier customers.
wengla02:That is competitive, proprietary information -- sorry.
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]We all know the talking points from Sprint PR are : "so we can continue to invest in unlimited data on handsets and extend our commitment to enhance the network". yeah, we get it. Bottom line is not all the perks we got were financially burdensome. For example "First to buy" opportunities, discount on accessories etc. Be real with us, was it really because the program wasn't delivering true customer loyalty? There must be something beyond the talking points
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Being real, it was difficult to measure the impact of Sprint Premier on customer loyalty. We'll still look for ways to do "First to Buy" - you can register to receive emails on it. You just need to go to sprint.com and click on the Premier banner to the right. Then go to the "First to Buy' tab. As for accessories...the Premier specific discount is going away, but we'll still be running seasonal promotions in retail stores periodically. In other words, are still evaluating how to acknowledge your loyalty going forward.
[Comment From nasnas: ]Do u think that leting the premiere program go will help inprove the network?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Not directly, but with the savings we will be able to invest in network vision to ensure our network evolves and continues to meet your needs. Check out "network vision" on Google for more.
[Comment From TerryTerry: ]My question regarding benefits for Sprint customers was in regard to your comment that there are still plenty of benefits to being a Sprint customer vs. competitors. Unlimited data was the example given, and I will give you that. But, what other benefits exist to make me want to stay with Sprint? It seems as though every benefit (aside from unlimited data) has been phased out or taken away. I realize Sprint is a business and needs to stay competitive and make money where it can, but I see no difference between what Sprint is offering over it's competitors. Please describe to me three benefits (aside from unlimited data) that should make me want to stay with Sprint. Oh, and paying an additional $10 a month for data use because I have a smartphone is not a benefit.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Other advantages to being with Sprint are: 1) Our Everything Data plan for smartphones at $79.99 a month is cheaper than Vz and ATT plans that only include 2Gb of data; 2) based on results of the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index "Sprint is #1 among all major wireless crriers for highest satisfaction value"; 3) Also based on the same 2011 index, "Sprint is the #1 most improved company in customer satisfaction across all industries over the last three years." And, to throw in one more for good measure, 4) innovative, award-winning devices like the HTC Evo 4G and HTC Evo 3D. Not to mention our commitment to environmental sustainability, as recognized by our #6 ranking in Newsweek's Green rankings.
[Comment From phil2milphil2mil: ]Maybe I am dense, but I feel like SP_Artloveskc's comment (at 1:22) about the 20 month upgrade contradicts his earlier comment (at 1:17). I am a Premier Gold customer. If I use my annual upgrade on September 30th when can I upgrade again? If I upgrade on October 30th when can I upgrade? ...sorry, but this is just not clear to me.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Yes. There is a cutoff date for when you can take your eligible upgrade and still get one more. If your plan is to use your annual upgrade by 10/1, you will still have one more upgrade to use until the end of 2012 (once you become eligible again in late 2012).
[Comment From ShellyShelly: ]We've been Sprint customers since the late 90's, I'd guess. We were part of the "Pioneer" group. During that time, a few times we definitely felt marginalized as "existing" customers, watching "new" customers get all the price breaks on the best new phones. More than once we decided we'd leave once the contract was up. Always, just in time it seemed, Sprint managed to improve and we ended up staying. So, it was delightful when Premiere was implemented. We finally felt valued as long term customers. I understand the need to do what's best for business, but it is still easy to feel now "less" valued by having a bonus taken away.. Still, I supposed I'd rather have unlimited data on my phone than not. Please, keep pursuing those top end phones, even if I must wait longer now to have them.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Shelly, first of all let me say THANK YOU for sticking with us. We're absolutely committed to being the very best carrier we can be, and your loyalty means a lot. Rest assured we'll continue to focus on innovative handsets going forward.
[Comment From DiStaulaDiStaula: ]It seems that the discontinued plan is the decision to keep offering unlimited data. How strong is Sprint's commitment to retain unlimited data on handsets in the future?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:When Sprint CEO Dan Hesse was asked that very question, he stated that people are simply willing to pay a price premium (when it comes to rate plans) for something that's just dead simple -- something that they don't have to think about when they use. He admitted that most average consumers have no concept of what a gigabyte is, or how long it takes to use one up, and that's why Sprint's unlimited plans are desired by customers -- and in fact, more so now than ever that our three main competitor's have moved to tiered data plans.
Having enough bandwidth to efficiently go around could be an issue, we continue to work diligently with handset manufacturers and app developers in order to implement things like WiFi offload and other efficiency tools. However nothing is guaranteed forever.
[Comment From ralphralph: ]sprint premier made sprint different then verizon so now the only difference is $10 a month you think this network is worth $10 a month to stay with? i have lte with verizon now sprint 4g is nowhere to be found
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Well you're right that there's only a $10 difference at 2GB, but we're $30 cheaper at 5GB. In addition to the $10-$30 price difference, we offer a worry-free experience, which together adds up. Stay tuned on 10/7 for our 4G plans.
[Comment From nasnas: ]Will this premiere program ever come back?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Not in its current form. Rest assured, we will continue to come up with new ideas for ways to reward our most loyal customers.
[Comment From ralphralph: ]have to love the pick and choose questions rather then the tuff ones like yes sprint is 679.99 but where is 4G? where are 3g speeds? with premier gone what doe sprint have.The 79.99 does not wash that is base price like 12000 for a new car then add dealer fees
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Ralph, regarding your 3G and 4G questions, stay tuned on 10/7 for the latest. Regarding what other things we offer, please see the above response to Terry. Regarding the base plan question, can you elaborate on what you're looking for?
[Comment From TomasTomas: ]Since it seems as though the only "advantage" a long term Premier customer has left over a new customer who just walked in the door are some of our old "grandfathered" plans, is there any assurance at all that we will be able to keep them, or could they be as fleeting as the Premier benefits?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Today, the change with Premier does not impact your grandfathered plan. We hear from many of our long-term customers the importance of maintaining these plans and the removal of Premier doesn't affect those.
wengla02:We will be wrapping up our chat in about 10 minutes; go ahead and submit any final questions for Art!
[Comment From ralphralph: ]Rumors are out there that the ET4G just came out will not support revb any truth?
wengla02:Ralph - please direct your Network questions to the Network and Coverage space; the Network Vision program does not include EVDO RevB, so no Sprint handset currently outor coming this year will support EVDO RevB. Sorry...
SP_ARTLOVESKC:You will continue to be eligible for upgrades under the New For You program. Go to sprint.com/upgrades for details. Again, the Premier close doesn't affect plans at all.
[Comment From CoachbnarbieCoachbnarbie: ]I just got on and read couple of thread but I like to know will the up grades will end all together after 2012 and if you have a family data plan the one
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]So you are announcing new plans on the 7th? Does that mean those os us with data will see even more charges?
[Comment From CoachbnarbieCoachbnarbie: ]to continue... My questions was accidently sent . As I was saying will there be any family plans that Sprint will be offering?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Coach, we really can't comment on future plans around price plans, sorry.
[Comment From dilori56dilori56: ]Nothing is forever Art, we understand that...but can Sprint at least make an effort to keep the unlimited plans?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Yes, that is the main reason for the end of the Premier program. We want to continue to provide this benefit to customers and we had to make these hard decisions in order to do so.
[Comment From ralphralph: ]when you add that verizon gives B1G1F on major phones besides the fact they have LTE in 50% more of area price is not the onlt advantage sprint should have
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Ralph - at the end of the day, customers have to weigh the value of each wireless company offering and what is important to them. We hope you and others will continue to choose Sprint, and we will work hard to earn your long term loyalty. Hopefully our presence on this chat proves that we are committed to hearing from you and being open and honest.
wengla02:We're doing a Strategy Update on October 7, not a plan update. (sorry for the lag; hit the wrong button)
wengla02:(no, I don't know what 'Strategy Update' means either)
[Comment From GuestGuest: ]Can you please answer if those of us with unlimited plans and 4G plans, will see a price hike?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Nope, sorry, we can't speak to plans here, just the Sprint Premier program close.
[Comment From nasnas: ]So this premiere program must cost Sprint a lot of money to keep it thats why Sprint is letting it go?
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Yes, as we referenced in answer to Anne's post at 1:16, it was quite costly to fund annual upgrades, accessory discounts, and other perks of the program. This is a significant savings over time that we will continue to reinvest in our customers' priorities.
[Comment From PhyllisPhyllis: ]What is the New for You Upgrade ?
wengla02:You can find out more about the Sprint New For You upgrade program at:
wengla02:Thank you all for your great questions today! We are at time for today.
SP_ARTLOVESKC:Thanks for your passion and presence everyone. We really appreciate it. There will be another session on 10/3 so stay tuned for details on that.
In the meantime, please visit sprint.com/premier for complete details on the program close. To check your upgrade eligibility, go to sprint.com/upgrades. Lastly, if you have account-specific questions, don't hesitate to post a message on our premier community and our eChat care reps can help you.