Howard's Blog

This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.

Monday, December 11, 2006

breaking up isn't so hard to do

I've been with Sprint (now Sprint with Nextel) for many years. Three phones, 3 contracts, each for 2+ years 9so it must have been ~8 years or so). Same phone number. I was on a "family plan"... we were a great customer... recurring revenues of $100 each and every month.

We were "out of contract", meaning that we were outside their two-year requirement. Month-to-month, ready to be poached by another carrier. With number protability and companies getting better at doing the number portability, it came time to shop around.

So I called Sprint 1st. I wanted to see how much they loved me.

I was on a "Free and Clear Plan":
750 shared minutes across three lines for $80. Addt'l minutes were $0.40. Analog roaming was extra. No international coverage, no text, no data plan. Through USAA, I was getting a nominal savings of ~$5 a month. Big deal.

My average useage was 585 "anytime" minutes over the last 18 months. However, my standard deviation was ~250 minutes! This included a few months over the last year where we went over to 773, 910 and 820 minutes. I had to look for another plan.

I didn't feel the love from Sprint. They steered me to their (better) Fair and Flexible plan. But they had a huge gap between a plan for 700 minutes and 1400 minutes. OK, so there was a "pay as you eat" element ($5 for each incremental 30 minutes)... it wasn'ty compelling enough for me. I asked to talk to customer retention.

You can find other stories of people doing well with customer retention. Free phones, free vision, better rates. Here's an example from an unnamed friend of my brother's:
I'm paying $115 for 4 phones, sharing 2280 minutes; N&Wk start at 7PM;
all except one have free internet access ~ txt msg. Those are the basic
Not bad. I mentioned the info on competing plans... All the while, looking to feel the love. It wasn't there.

So now I am with T-Mobile. 1000 "whenever" minutes shared across 3 phones for $80. It's not complete apples-to-apple comparison.

CarrierMinutes$/monthFree minutes start/endCalls that don't count
Sprint750$807PM weekdays to 6AMAll calls count
T-Mobile1000$809PM weekdays to 7AMOther T-Mobile phones
|| hcpark, 1:47 PM


Great research. For some reason my head just keeps spinning any time I try to understand cell phone rates and plans... even with such great reasearch and matrices as this.
Anonymous reese, at 7:45 AM  

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