Spotty Sprint service may lose company student customers

Students may vehemently contest the map on the Sprint PCS website that rates the quality of service in Williamstown as “best.” Since mid-November, campus Sprint users have noticed a significant drop in coverage, with service consistently hovering around one to two bars or on “roaming.”

After noting the low and infrequent service, many students contacted Sprint’s customer service to report the problem.

Kristen Williams ’10 spoke to a representative in November who advised her to update her phone settings. “However I didn’t realize that they just had me switch it so that my phone wouldn’t warn me when it was roaming and would just take the calls,” Williams said.

Customer service representatives responded to other complaints similarly. Maria Tucker ’10 called customer service three times. “After waiting a minimum of ten minutes, I’d either lose service or be advised to go to a store to have my phone upgraded,” she said. She then e-mailed customer service, informing them that many people on campus were considering switching service providers. An official responded promptly, agreeing to place a service order and recommending that she update her phone.

Sprint users arrived back from Thanksgiving to no service and several resumed their complaints. Despite having received calls from over ten students, customer service officials told Williams that there was no record of any complaints from the area and that the glitch must lie in her phone.

“The main problem with customer services is that they don’t document the complaints so every time I call, they claim that it’s the first time they’ve heard of a problem, which is probably true for the specific person that I’m talking to, but certainly not for the entire company,” Williams said.

Peter Houston ’10, also a Sprint user, described similar frustrations. After repeated calls to customer service, he was told a vehicle had been dispatched to fix a faulty tower in the area. While service improved considerably around Dec. 7, its return was brief. Sprint phones have been back to roaming since January, although one student received notice that technicians are currently working to fix the problem.

Several Sprint users are contemplating changing phone companies if the spotty coverage continues. “If I could switch plans tomorrow, I instantly would,” Houston said. “Unfortunately, my contract lasts till the summer.”

Free roaming in Tucker’s plan has appeased her for now. “As long as I find a perfect spot and remain completely motionless when I make a call, I don’t have that much of a problem,” she said, adding that she may consider switching.

For Williams, Sprint’s opportunity has expired, and she has decided to switch to Verizon next month regardless of whether Sprint resumes full service. “[I am switching] mainly because I’m not getting service and their customer service representatives are essentially worthless,” she said. “They keep trying to convince me that there’s a problem with my phone that is cured every time I leave Williamstown.”

Despite repeated attempts to contact Sprint officials, representatives were unavailable for comment.

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