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Sprint, I’m Leaving You for Virgin Mobile

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Dear Sprint,

I have been in love with you for more than 10 years now. On our tenth anniversary you gave me a great gift and made me a Sprint Premier customer. Oh how I looked forward to upgrading my Palm Pre to the new hotness that HP is sure to bring. However, HP has already put the Palm Pre 2 in the hands of some customers and you remain silent about it. Video of the Palm Pre 2 on Verizon is circulating around the web, but there is no sign of it coming from you. In the past, you've always gotten my the new Palm phones first, but it looks like those days are over. I'm not leaving over a phone though. I like to think that I'm not that shallow. Why am I going? Well it's complicated...

Do you remember our first date? I remember it like it was yesterday. You offered me a $10/unlimited data plan and I accepted it like a giddy schoolboy. I realize it wasn't the 3G or even 4G that you are offering today, but it was still the fastest available service at a great price. Over the years, I've remained faithful. However, it wasn't always easy. Whenever, I got a new phone you asked me to pay more for data. I remember when I got the Palm Treo 700P, that $10 wireless plan jumped up to $25. I had bought the phone because I wanted the revolutionary 320x320 screen and the state-of-art 1.3 megapixel camera. However, since it worked on your newer EVDO (3G) network, I was forced to pay more. You denied my request to limit my download speeds to the older CDMA network. Fortunately, I was able to switch to your Sprint Employee Referral Offer SERO plan which offered me get some of that money back. It was enough to keep me loyal despite the smoking-hot iPhone.

When I upgraded to the Palm Pre, you once again forced me to a new phone plan. This time, I had to accept the Simply Everything plan, which took away all the benefits of our long relationship together. My cell phone plan that used to be $30 skyrocketed up to $70. Unfortunately, your network service didn't change with my new phone, I simply had to pay more for it. I was using just as much data on the Palm Treo 700P because of its Slingbox application.

Even at the $70, you represented some of the best value out there. AT&T and Verizon can't even come close. I must have recommended you to thousands of people over the years. I wasn't alone. Companies like BillShrink put up infographics that showed how much cheaper a smartphone is on Sprint. It was a rare consumer win to get the best phone paired with the cheapest price.

However, it is with tears in my eyes that I tell you I have to end our relationship. I'm not leaving you for some hot new phone. I'm leaving you for a hot phone plan. I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but I'm leaving you for your sister, Virgin Mobile. If it is any consolation, I'll still be using your network. However, I'll be sending my checks to Virgin Mobile instead of you.

I didn't want it to come to this. Virgin Mobile is offering me a $25 a month plan for 300 minutes, unlimited data, and text messages... and no contract. That includes all those pesky taxes. You know I don't make a lot of phone calls, so this is a great deal for me. Virgin has a middle-of-the-road Android phone in the Samsung Intercept, but it will get the job done. The Intercept will cost me around $250, but the $45 a month difference will save me money in less than 6 months. Perhaps that is why experts are calling this deal "the single best deal in the history of smartphones".

Sprint, I have tried to work it out with you. When I called your retention line, you offered me a free month if I sign a two-year contract. Surely you can understand how a $70 savings over two years isn't going to compete with the $1000+ I'll save with this change. I thought maybe you could put me in your new SERO Premium plan. However, since you forced me from my previous SERO plan to the Simply Everything plan, I am no longer eligible. By being a good customer and upgrading early, I shot myself in the foot with your new SERO plan. It hurts that you'd treat one of your greatest supporters like this. It is unfortunate that despite our long-term relationship, you couldn't find a way to make it work.

I hope you aren't too disappointed. Please remember all the good times we shared.

P.S. By the way, Sprint rebates suck.

Last updated on January 9, 2011.

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22 Responses to “Sprint, I’m Leaving You for Virgin Mobile”

  1. Matt says:

    You CAN ditch them all: I did months ago. Went with StraightTalk (Wal-Mart’s service). Cheap, reliable, uses the Verizon network, great reception, no contract. I’m very pleased and will never go back to the contract carriers.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I use my smartphone quite a bit. Overall, I can’t say that I’m completely unhappy with the value. I like the idea of getting 99% of the value for about 1/3rd the price.

      The thing that gets me the most is that they are letting the phone choice dictate the price of the service. Sometimes they are related, but other times they are not and it leads to nonsensical pricing.

  2. Dave Dunkin says:

    You do know that Virgin Mobile USA is a brand of Sprint, right?

    • Lazy Man says:

      Yep, that’s why I pointed out in the article that I won’t really be leaving Sprint. I’ll still be using their “pipes.”

      I think that’s what makes it all more amazing. Why is Sprint under-cutting their own business like this? If the left hand was talking to the right hand, they’d be able to squeeze more money just because I’d prefer to keep my Palm Pre.

  3. TheJesusEgg says:

    Well, some of the benefits you’re losing out on as a Virgin Mobile customer are the following:

    You’ll only be using Sprint’s towers, no roaming agreements to use Verizon’s towers.
    You lose priority on the network/towers to Sprint post-paid customers.
    Fewer device choices.

    Those caveats apply to all major carriers pre-paid services.

    • Lazy Man says:

      It is my understanding that there is no roaming agreement for Sprint (which I have now) to roam on Verizon’s towers. I read on a variety that while they are both CDMA, it doesn’t mean you can just roam.

      The device choice opening up (a mid-range Android phone available) is what makes me consider it. I think there’s a strong argument to be made for not paying $1000 over two years for device choice when all of them do 98% of the things extremely efficiently.

  4. what about being able to tether you phone?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I believe that tethering is against the terms of the contract as it is with Sprint. However, just like with the Palm Pre, those looking to skirt the rules have found out how to get it done.

  5. Andy Hough says:

    I’m still on the SERO program so switching to the Virgin plan wouldn’t save me much money especially since I’d have to buy a new phone. I’ve read that you can sell your SERO plan though which would probably cover the phone cost. I’ll probably just stick with what I have since it works ok.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I might be willing to buy your SERO plan ;-). If you want one of the new phones, you can move up to a SERO Premium plan, which is kind of in between what you pay now and what a Simply Everything plan would cost.

  6. Ben says:

    I am on SERO and just a month ago I renewed my plan. And I went with the Intercept as well. Up front cost of $100 and ~$46/month (with fees and taxes). I would need Virgin’s $40/month plan to keep up with my minutes, so the $6 difference per month doesn’t make switching worth the added $150 of upfront phone cost. With the $25/month plan, it is definitely better than the SERO plan.

  7. Moneycone says:

    Have you considered going the prepaid route?

  8. Moneycone says:

    :) That’s not what I meant – I was relating it to what I did. I used to have a T-mobile plan and T-Mobile has the option where you can switch to Prepaid monthly and prepaid pay-as-you-go.

    With monthly, it is use-it-or lose it. With pay-as-you-go, the minutes are valid for a year. I switched to pay-as-you-go which was a better deal than monthly. That’s what I was subconsciously arriving at. Sorry, I should’ve been more specific.

  9. ATX says:

    Do virgin mobile users get corporate discounts? I have a 30% discount on Sprint…will that transfer to VM? Or does VM have a similar program?

  10. si says:

    its funny cuz sprint owns virgin mobile too lol

  11. virgin-user says:

    I strongly advise AGAINST going to virgin mobile.

    They have the worst service I have ever experienced. The data connection works about 50% of the time, and they won’t give you credit for down time. The customer service can’t speak english and are rude and dismissive; they hang up on people often. Their coverage is not what they say it is. I live in an area that is supposed to be full strength 3G but the service around here is almost unusable, same goes for several other places my friends live in the sf bay area.

    If you don’t care about having a working data connection, missing texts and never getting them (they drop them rather than que them), missing tons of MMS messages (requires data connection), unnecessarily “reprogramming” your phone because their script tells them to when the problem is always with their flaky network, having to pay the same price wether the service works or not, and generally don’t care about using your phone (especially in a pinch while traveling) THEN GO WITH Virgin Mobile USA.

    They also proxy your connection down to 1/4 speed, automatically drop your persistent connection because of time or total throughput, have super flaky provisioning and don’t even know when and why to use it. Plus, the data connection doesn’t work when you are on the phone, so forget about looking something up on the map or internet while you are talking to somebody (due to lame 3G CDMA/PCS technology).

    I have never regretted a decision as much as switching to virgin mobile (from t-mobile)!

  12. virgin-user says:

    Oh, and forget about forget about network/SIM unlocking YOUR phone and using it overseas (you need GSM, T-mobile our AT&T) or on another network. Both TMO and ATT freely give out sim unlock codes for their phones. I have moved phones both ways for free and found my Nokia 5230 (symbian, haha) gets 3G on both networks, all I have to do is switch my sim card and plug a few settings in to switch providers. You can’t do that with any sprint/verizon/CDMA phone (without some major hackery, if at all).

    Virgin Mobile is not business class service, it’s third world ghetto service and is a horrible value at any price.

    • Lazy Man says:

      It is well known that you can’t move phone from CDMA service to CDMA service. I think it is a stretch to say that TMO and ATT freely give out the sim unlock codes though.

  13. Virgin Mobile over Sprint says:

    I made the switch for many of the same reaons -a comperable plan in terms of voice minutes, unlimited data, unimited text was going to run my nearly $60 more a month before the added BS fees. I had been with Sprint since 1998. I have basically the same phone that I could have gotten for “free” with Sprint (LG Optimus) and it’s a very capable android smartphone. I paid $150 for the phone before taxes and I was at breakeven in a little under three months. If I stay with Virgin and this phone for 2 years – the length of what my contract with Sprint would have been for the “free” phone – I’m about $1,260 ahead of the game. I could upgrade my phone to the newest VM anroid smartphone every year and still come out way ahead (they just rolled out a great option from Motorola – http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phones/motorola-triumph-phone.jsp). I’ve not noticed any difference in my level of service since switching. Still have the same call quality, dead zones, etc. that I had with Sprint. Very easy to port your number as well.

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