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Kagan: Love Sprint or it's free

Sprint’s stock price increased after last week’s quarterly report. As we watch the carrier over the last year or two, one thing is becoming quite clear: they are serious about attracting and keeping customers.
Now, the carrier’s marketing machine is attempting to one-up itself. They say try our service, and if you don’t like it in 30 days, they will refund your money. That’s putting their money where their mouth is.
Over the last couple years, Sprint has been improving its network, selling more and increasing market share. According to their most recent quarterly report, Sprint’s churn rate is lower than anytime within the last 20 years, meaning fewer customers are leaving. The quality, speed and reach of its network seems to be working well. That’s a very important indicator.
Sprint’s challenge is to get more users to try its service. If customers are happy with the quality, connectivity and speed, then they should also be happy with the lower cost as well since the carrier is aggressively priced.
Over the last year or two, Sprint has won market share from customers who wanted to give them a try. Now it looks like they are trying to win new customers who are hesitant by taking away any potential pain a customer feels when considering making a switch.

Sprint wins awards

Will Sprint attract all customers? Of course not. No carrier can attract all customers, as those happy with AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile US or the assorted smaller competitors will probably not switch. However, there is a sizable slice of the customer pie who will move around. I think they are who Sprint is aiming at with this new promotion.
Today, Sprint is winning awards from companies like RootMetrics, Nielsen and J.D. Power for improvements in their network quality, speed and reach, and the care they take with customer satisfaction. Translation: Sprint continues to get better and stronger. Sprint is convinced their quality, speed and reach is high enough that it will impress customers. And they are willing to take the risk so customers don’t have to. That’s pretty self-assured confidence. It’s what customers like to see.

 Next ‘pin drop’ challenge

Sprint had a similar problem in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They upgraded their long-distance network to fiber optics and had excellent quality, but couldn’t get the marketplace to give them a try.
Faced with this challenge, CEO Bill Esrey created the “pin drop” challenge, claiming the network was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. They used all sorts of creative marketing like having a singer hit such a high note they shattered glass, over the Sprint network.
That stroke of brilliance worked. Customers started to try the carrier, liked it and they began to grow. Today’s wireless marketing campaign reminds me of those long distance days. Sprint has improved the quality of the network, now they just have to let the marketplace know.
As a wireless analyst, I always talk with users of every carrier on a regular basis. I’ve been talking with Sprint users nationwide and have noticed a solid uptick in the way people feel about the company. Users say quality is much better than a few short years ago. This is good news as Sprint continues to update their network and turn the speed up and widen their reach and coverage.
Today’s challenge is to convince the marketplace of those improvements. And that is what I think they are doing with this new 30-day trial campaign, where if you are not happy they will refund your purchase.
Five years ago, Sprint was swimming in trouble. Since then they have invested billions of dollars improving their network and it has improved enough for them to stand behind it with this new marketing offer. This faith in their own services and their willingness to stand behind them is impressive.
It’s finally good to see all four major wireless carriers in the U.S. marketplace doing strong business. The marketplace will continue to change and mature, but as long as all players offer excellent quality, the marketplace will remain healthy for every customer, business and consumer as well as every carrier.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Jeff Kagan
Jeff Kaganhttp://jeffkagan.com
Jeff is a RCR Wireless News Columnist, Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer. He shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for 35 years. Jeff follows wireless, wire line telecom, Internet, Pay-TV, cable TV, AI, IoT, Digital Healthcare, Cloud, Mobile Pay, Smart cities, Smart Homes and more.

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