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Old 08-24-2005, 06:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question SprintPCS Blackberry experiences?

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I'm a SprintPCS customer and want a BB, so an obvious choice is the SprintPCS 7250. I have a few concerns around their limited customer base:

1 - Is their customer service going to be lacking since they have a small BB customer base?

2 - Do they offer all the features other carriers offer? BES support? Web browsing? IM?

3 - What's going to happen as they merge with Nextel?

Any of you have a SprintPCS Blackberry? Any comments?

Thanks,
PB
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Old 08-24-2005, 06:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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there is a Sprint?nextel 7100i i believe scheduled for release soon.
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Old 08-24-2005, 09:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just got a brand new Sprint PCS BB with Bluetooth. Service is fine except that Sprint had an outage for data for some customers including me for 24 hrs this past weekend.

I have a Cingular BB for personal use and it works just like the Sprint BB. I don't really notice a difference.
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Sprint Blackberry 7250 is a very good choice. Unfortunately they are, at this point anyway, only offering Blackberries to business customers. However, even if you're on a consumer plan, if you have a discount through your employer you are considered a business customer.

If you already have Sprint PCS service, the best route for buying the Blackberry is through their Telematics Telesales line, 1-866-727-2886. Use the option to "purchase a PCS device with integrated Bluetooth technology." They will try to sell you the 7750. Don't do it. Get the 7250. Better device, less money.

Once you have the device, activation is simple. The regular activations line can do the ESN swap, and Blackberry Support will do the provisioning, which takes about 5 minutes and almost no action on your part. My Blackberry was up and running, making and receiving calls, and fully utilizing the Blackberry network, in under 10 minutes.

Sprint PCS does have a dedicated Blackberry support team, and they are VERY good. I have had occasion to ping on them over a few issues, namely the 26-hour data outage that's already been discussed in this thread. They were pretty up-front about the problems, apologetic, and in fact I did get a credit for the downtime without even asking. The Blackberry Support Line is at 1-877-654-9111, option 6.

There's a full retail launch slated for early September. I have not been told yet whether this will include consumer customers or not, but keep your eyes peeled around that time, in case you're activating as a new subscriber.

As for reliability, pricing, and other experiences: Other than the outage the service has been very reliable, very responsive, and is fast. The unlimited Blackberry plan is the only thing available now, at $45/month. There are other Blackberry plan options planned for September, but I am not at liberty to discuss those at this time. This is supposedly available without a voice plan, but I do not know of anyone who has actually tried to take that route.

FWIW, yes, I do work for Sprint. However, I'm as quick to beat the company up for things that go wrong as many customers are. The outage was unacceptable. But it's a young service that hasn't even officially launched yet (like other as-yet-not-officially-launched services such as Ready Link). Feel free to ask any questions about the network or the Blackberry service. If I don't have an answer, I'll see if I can get one for you as quickly as possible.
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Addressing the other concerns in the original post... I think the support is probably BETTER than most carriers right now because the user base is so small. Like I mentioned in my other post there is a dedicated support team that does nothing but Blackberry, and they really know their stuff. Regular tech support won't touch a Blackberry account, so you'd just call BB Support for any issues.

Yes, they support BES, and have the web client available, complete with web browsing. You cannot access the PCS Vision services with the device, as traffic takes a different route across their IP network (you are, however, technically provisioned for a flavor of Vision).

You asked what will happen as a result of the merger. Lots of stuff. Anything that directly impacts your Sprint PCS (red network) Blackberry? Not that I'm aware of. As for specific changes... you'll have to wait until Day 1, or browse other online forums. But I can tell you there won't be anything to get extremely excited over as a "Pre-Merger Sprint Customer", as the bulk of the changes-- short of realigning the price plans a bit-- will be on the "Pre-Merger Nextel" (yellow network) side. That's all I can say.
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Old 08-25-2005, 05:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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When I called Sprint tech support during the outage, level 2 support had no idea there even was an outage. They put in a trouble ticket. They were minimally friendly.

I then called my IT Department on a weekend and 1 hour later had a message that this was a known problem at Sprint.

The length of the outage makes me wonder how technically proficient Sprint is but I gather other providers have had outages too.

Otherwise, the device has worked flawlessly. The phone signal has been excellent.

Nice to hear from Sprint on this forum.
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Old 08-25-2005, 06:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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These types of "outage confusions" are extremely common at the carriers. Use the message forums to figure out the nationwide or carrierwide outages.

The carriers are getting better at supporting the BB. Most have a dedicated BB support number. When a carrier first starts supporting BB they typically are stretched thin --- but over time learn to route the calls to dedicated wireless people.

Nextel used to have lots of outages and confusion -- but now they are smooth as glass and their support is all dedicated and if I had to call them ever I'm pretty sure they'd know what they're talking about...<g>
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trustworthy
Nice to hear from Sprint on this forum.
Nice to be here.

While I can't (intentionally) represent the company here, I'm glad to offer what help I can to users of Sprint's Blackberry service.
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mas90guru
These types of "outage confusions" are extremely common at the carriers. Use the message forums to figure out the nationwide or carrierwide outages.

The carriers are getting better at supporting the BB. Most have a dedicated BB support number. When a carrier first starts supporting BB they typically are stretched thin --- but over time learn to route the calls to dedicated wireless people.

Nextel used to have lots of outages and confusion -- but now they are smooth as glass and their support is all dedicated and if I had to call them ever I'm pretty sure they'd know what they're talking about...<g>
It seemed like I was talking to the same few people each time I called Blackberry Support. Given the small user base they might not have more than a dozen people answering the calls. Regardless, even mid-afternoon the day of the outage, there was zero hold time, and this is the one Sprint support department I've ever talked to that actually calls you back with updates when they say they will. Impressive.
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Old 08-25-2005, 08:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg4peq
It seemed like I was talking to the same few people each time I called Blackberry Support. Given the small user base they might not have more than a dozen people answering the calls. Regardless, even mid-afternoon the day of the outage, there was zero hold time, and this is the one Sprint support department I've ever talked to that actually calls you back with updates when they say they will. Impressive.
I called Saturday afternoon and waited on hold for about 15 minutes.
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Old 08-25-2005, 09:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trustworthy
I called Saturday afternoon and waited on hold for about 15 minutes.
Which number?
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Old 08-25-2005, 09:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't remember.
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Old 08-25-2005, 09:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trustworthy
I don't remember.
Sounds like you were contacting the regular data tech support guys. They usually take a while to pick up. BB Support has always answered within a couple seconds of me transferring out of the main menu.
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Old 08-26-2005, 09:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I think Sprint support Sucks. Every time I call for the same problem but a different device, I get different answers. They can't seem to get it right when doing esn swaps from a 7750 to a 7250. We always have to call back because something is always missed and then they make a change, they say, "wait 4 hours for the change to take effect" If I call back before the 4 hours is up because I still have no data, they won't help because I didn't wait 4 hours. Ridiculous, if you ask me. I know there is something with the system that it updates eery 4 hours but when you are talking taking something away from someone that they are used to having for 4 hours and longer if it isn't done right the first time, that is very frustrating. Anyway, if I had my way, I kick Sprint out my door as hard and as fast as I could but I don't have that authority so I just deal with what I think is crappy support. And I didn't even mention all the "Data Connection Refused" problems we had for almost 2 months and not until I called RIM did I start to see Sprint jump on getting it resolved.
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Old 08-26-2005, 01:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udontknowjack
They can't seem to get it right when doing esn swaps from a 7750 to a 7250.
The 7750, from a provisioning standpoint, is a totally different animal, and it is a miracle it works at all. For the 7250, it's just a matter of having the right ESN and data plan on your account. Provisioning the 7750 usually involves multiple people and several convoluted steps on Sprint's end. Nobody's to blame except perhaps RIM, since it does not seem to be a very well thought-out device. That said, in trying to remove the 7750, it's certainly likely that something won't be "cleaned up" and yanked from the account, being that putting it there makes such a mess in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by udontknowjack
We always have to call back because something is always missed and then they make a change, they say, "wait 4 hours for the change to take effect" If I call back before the 4 hours is up because I still have no data, they won't help because I didn't wait 4 hours.
The overwhelming majority of changes to accounts take effect within fifteen minutes, unless there is an unusually long backlog of stuff waiting to be processed, which generally happens during times when a lot of activations are taking place (Thursday & Friday evenings, and all weekend), when it can take a little longer. The four hour quote is an "under-promise, over-deliver" thing that does a good job setting the right expectation for customers. Most people are pleasantly surprised when the phone they are told can take up to four hours to activate is making and receiving calls in five minutes.

As far as them not helping, that's reasonable. You were quoted four hours, so wait four hours. Tech support CANNOT see if a feature has gone through the switch and is fully provisioned on your account. Messing with it before the four hour timeframe can only cause more problems and additional delays. They are doing you a favor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by udontknowjack
Ridiculous, if you ask me.
But you should still be a good little customer and do as you're told.
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Old 08-26-2005, 04:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kg4peq
it's just a matter of having the right ESN and data plan on your account.
Simple task, you'd think. I went through a period of 6 months where Sprint constantly screwed up my roommate and my cell phone plans. They'd alternate between putting both phones on my account and on her account.

I was actually able to cancel HER service b/c they had no record of the number ever belonging to anyone but me. You simply cannot provide me w/ a valid excuse for allowing this to happen.

Luckily, my Nextel contract will be up before the merger takes place, so I can avoid being subjected to Sprint's (lack of)customer service again.

So, my take on Sprint: The service is decent if you never have an issue. If you DO have a billing issue, I wish you the absolute best of luck, b/c you'll need it.
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Old 08-26-2005, 06:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Question Thanks!

This information is very helpful. Thank you very much!

My extensive queries partially stem from the fact that folks in my company use Cingular, T-mobile, and Verizon for the BB service, but no one uses SprintPCS. I have a few more specific questions:

1 - Our IT manager said that I should be sure that SprintPCS supports BES - do they? Does it matter what model my company has?

2 - I noticed that Verizon has a web client service (Blackberry Internet Service) that allows users to access up to 10 POP accounts in addition to corporate Exchange mail services. Is this something that I can do with Sprint as well?

3 - Regarding the new plans that are emerging in September, are those worth holding out for or are existing plans good?

4 - SprintPCS Vision service does transcoding of images to reduce the size. Does the Blackberry service do that as well? Is that good or bad?

I would really like to stay with Sprint and keep my voice plan, so I'm excited to hear that things look good!

Thanks,
PB
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Old 08-28-2005, 08:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Does anyone know when Sprint is coming out with their 7100 series type device?
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWastedYears
I was actually able to cancel HER service b/c they had no record of the number ever belonging to anyone but me. You simply cannot provide me w/ a valid excuse for allowing this to happen.

---snip---

So, my take on Sprint: The service is decent if you never have an issue. If you DO have a billing issue, I wish you the absolute best of luck, b/c you'll need it.
I do not need to provide you with any excuse for anything. I'm not here to do that. I am here to discuss Blackberry devices on Sprint's network, which is of course the topic of this board. If you want to rant and rave about your generally poor experiences with Sprint, there are plenty of discussion boards and newsgroups that will appreciate your companionship. This is not the place.
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Old 08-28-2005, 03:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pb2
This information is very helpful. Thank you very much!
Our pleasure.

Quote:
My extensive queries partially stem from the fact that folks in my company use Cingular, T-mobile, and Verizon for the BB service, but no one uses SprintPCS. I have a few more specific questions:

1 - Our IT manager said that I should be sure that SprintPCS supports BES - do they? Does it matter what model my company has?
Sprint does support BES. I don't know much about BES, but you're in the right place to ask. I'm not sure what model/version requirements there are, if any.

Quote:
2 - I noticed that Verizon has a web client service (Blackberry Internet Service) that allows users to access up to 10 POP accounts in addition to corporate Exchange mail services. Is this something that I can do with Sprint as well?
Yes, however, I do not believe you can do this in conjunction with a BES. It's one or the other. I could be wrong though. Again, I'm not that familiar with BES so someone else can chime in with that.

Quote:
3 - Regarding the new plans that are emerging in September, are those worth holding out for or are existing plans good?
Makes little difference. The rollout is only days away, and if you want to sign up now, you can always change your rate plan. But yes, they are quite nice. The new plans have been described internally like this: "The best of Sprint, and the best of Nextel, all in one." Let your imagination run wild.

Quote:
4 - SprintPCS Vision service does transcoding of images to reduce the size. Does the Blackberry service do that as well? Is that good or bad?
I have not noticed it, and since Blackberry data is routed *around* the standard Vision network it would stand to reason it's not something that would automatically happen. I haven't noticed obvious compression, but it's hard to tell on a cheap STN display like that in the 7250.
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