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The Best Smartphones… Only From Sprint!

I am currently the reluctant owner of a Samsung Galaxy Epic.  The phone itself is amazing, but mine has a defect with the back button which causes it to go off randomly and exit out of whatever I am doing.  It doesn’t matter if I’m composing an email, playing Angry Birds, searching for my destination with one of the many GPS systems installed, or looking for a new wallpaper; if my phone doesn’t want to do it, it won’t.  Since I didn’t get the insurance on the phone when I originally purchased it, I’m stuck with it.  My husband, probably mostly out of annoyance at hearing me cuss at my phone, bought me a new one off of eBay last week; the Samsung Galaxy Next, a smaller version of my current phone with all of the features I have grown to love.

Here is me trying to activate my phone:

My Chat Reason: I am trying to activate a new phone. I got it as a gift so it is not currently attached to my account at all. My current phone on my plan is broken. When I enter the information required, I get a message back that my new phone cannot be located  (this is common with Sprint for some reason; all new phones I’ve activated through them have required the assistance of a representative in the chat with the exception of the Samsung Galaxy Epic)

Lance N.: May I please have the ESN/DEC number from your new phone? It can be found inside your phone under the battery.

Me:  I show IMEI number xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, S/N number xxxxxxxxxxx, SSN number xxxxxxxxxxx …. there is no ESN/DEC that I see. It is a Samsung Galaxy Next phone if that helps.

Lance N.: Thanks.   Let me check this for you.   Thank you for waiting.

Me: No problem!

Lance N.: Is it a Sprint/Nextel phone?  Please check this on the phone.   Can you see Sprint Logo on the phone?

Me: there’s no logo whatsoever except for Samsung  (not a good sign….)

Lance N.: The Sprint/Nextel, should have Sprint or Nextel logo.  Only the CDMA devices work on Sprint network. The Sprint phones are CDMA devices and it cannot be used on other network because of this reason.   Due to the technical differences, the same way, other unlocked phone cannot be used on sprint network. The system is designed in such a way that the ESN (serial number) of other network device cannot be loaded on our system.   I have also checked the details that, we do not offer Samsung Galaxy Next model.

I wanted to be angry with Sprint and honestly, I was for a little while.  This phone my husband bought for me with all the amazing features I wanted (plus it was lime green and black; super cute) was useless on my Sprint plan.  I threw a tantrum and we ended up finding a different phone that hopefully will work; I checked to ensure this one said SPRINT all over it.  It is definitely a letdown not to be able to have the phone I initially wanted and even more of a letdown to know that the days of phone swapping seem to be over.

When all my phone’s data was on a little SIM card, I swapped phones along with my husband when we felt we needed a change; we had a few phones at home that we would rotate through.  Then at some point, a SIM card was no longer necessary, but I was still able to activate my Nokia Prism (from China!) on my Sprint account with no issue.  Shortly after, we were introduced to the affordable Smartphone.  At this point, it seemed that carriers were doing all they could to have exclusive phones that could only be owned on their network.  Sprint seems to have taken that idea one step further by making their devices CDMA (honestly, I have no idea what that means and I don’t feel like learning) so they cannot be used on any other network and so other phones cannot be used on theirs.

I can’t really blame Sprint for what they did; it seems as though they have found a way to bypass people unlocking phones from other networks to use on their own which is an intelligent business move.  If I want another phone in the Samsung Galaxy family, I will have to drop $499 plus tax on Sprint’s website in order to obtain one, not drop $140 on eBay and grab one like my husband did for me.  I have a limited choice of phones, as do AT&T customers, Verizon customers, and so on.  Commercials lately are less for the cell phone providers and more for the Smartphones that are exclusive to their company; every commercial seems to begin with “The New Whatever Smartphone!” and end with “Only With T-Mobile!” when it should be the other way around.

I signed on with Sprint not because they offered Awesome Phone A and Super Cool Phone B, but because they have true unlimited data plans, they offer great customer service, and they have yet to royally screw up my bill (Verizon) or add nonsense fees to my bill for no reason (AT&T) or to process my payment twice (AT&T) or to have one phone on two separate plans and bill me for both (Verizon).  Shouldn’t the reason we stick with one provider over another be because of the service they offer, not the specific Smartphone they have the rights to?

Perhaps I’m just being a little bitter about the fact that I can’t do what I’ve done for years and rotate phones in and out with ease, but it bothers me to no end that cell phone providers are doing this exclusive nonsense.  It seems to be for no other reason than the almighty dollar.  Screw the customers; as long as we’re the only ones who carry the newest iPhone, they’ll flock to us whether they like it or not!  The unfortunate thing is, when customers are attracted by exclusivity and product as opposed to customer service and product performance, the customer service suffers and the performance doesn’t have to be top notch because that isn’t why your customers signed up.  I would love to see which phone provider would come out on top if tomorrow we were able to make all phones available on all carriers across the board.  What will they do when they can’t hide behind the “Exclusively at…” promise?

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on May 1, 2012, in Life, Money and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

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