I’m sure you’ve seen the latest commercial from Sprint. It entices wireless consumers to have their bills cut in half if they switch from Verizon Wireless or AT&T. The spot has been airing quite often since the holiday season started. There’s just one little problem with this advertising – it’s not accurate.
Let’s put down the machetes and power off the chainsaws for a moment. No need for the dramatics. Even the Sprint CFO has since admitted that Sprint customers are not getting a 50% savings with this latest promotion. In fact, taking the bait on this promo could actually cost customers $500 – $700, per Verizon’s news release and Indianapolis news network, Fox 59.
“Verizon continues to listen to what’s important to our customers and to make sure they have the best customer experience on the best network. Our competitive position is strong coupled with our best ever pricing,” said Laura Merritt, Verizon Wireless spokesperson for Ohio/Pennsylvania/West Virginia. “But the bottom line is this: we know that no matter how much data you have, it’s only as good as the network it’s on, and Verizon Wireless’ network is second to none. So when a family or business is looking for help with their wireless devices to keep up with their busy lifestyles, Verizon is leading the industry on best overall value and experience.”
Let’s make a few things clear with some simple fact checks of Sprint’s most recent promotional campaign claims. The following statements were released on December 19th by Verizon, in an effort to clarify what the consumer is receiving and where the marketing campaign of Sprint may have over reached. Verizon also goes on to show consumers the value and quality of service they are receiving on the VZW 4G XLTE network, in comparison to Sprint’s network. Please note: the following italicized commentary is directly from the Verizon press release:
SPRINT CLAIM: “Bring us your AT&T and Verizon bill and we’ll cut your bill in half” (Sprint Corp. website, December 15, 2014)
FACT CHECK: Sprint’s own CFO was forced to tell investors and reporters that the “deal” doesn’t save consumers 50 percent. Confirmed in the fine-print the Sprint offer “requires a non-discounted phone” purchased at time of transaction whereas Verizon offers discounts as much as $200 for a top device. Sprint also requires the customer to surrender their former phone and that could be worth hundreds of dollars in value. Verizon is offering customers a minimum of $100 trade-in value for their existing smartphone in good working condition when customers purchase a new Samsung Galaxy S5 or DROID Turbo.
It is also worth nothing that if the Sprint customer needs to increase their data plan or wants to add an additional line to their plan, they will lose the promotional rate and will have to choose a current Sprint plan.
SPRINT CLAIM: “Welcome to the all-new Sprint Network, built from the ground up to be smarter, faster and better than ever before.” (Sprint Corp. website, December 15, 2014)
FACT CHECK: Verizon network is consistently ranked #1 by third-party testing.
Verizon Wireless consistently earns top rankings from independent consumer reporting and testing institutions for network quality and performance. In the first half of 2014, one of the top third-party testers released its second national report and Verizon Wireless received the highest award for overall network performance in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Scores were based on tests performed from January through June 2014. The company ranked the four major U.S. wireless providers in six categories: Overall, Reliability, Speed, Data, Call and Text network performance.
SPRINT CLAIM: “We’ve enhanced our nationwide 3G and 4G LTE networks.” (Sprint Corp. website, December 15, 2014)
FACT CHECK: The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network is the largest in the United States. Verizon’s 4G LTE network is now available in more than 500 markets to 98 percent of the U.S. population and covers nearly 308 million people.
Verizon Wireless is regularly testing, maintaining and fine-tuning the network to ensure that customers have the top-notch service to stay connected to their mobile life. The Verizon network test drive team is one of the largest of its kind of any U.S. wireless company. Every year, the dedicated test men and women drive roughly 1 million miles in specially equipped vehicles to conduct more than 3 million voice call attempts and more than 12 million data tests across the country to compare the performance of the Verizon Wireless network with our competitors’ networks.
SPRINT CLAIM: “Sprint Spark is a powerful, enhanced LTE network capability that incorporates three bands of LTE.” (Sprint Corp. website, December 15, 2014)
FACT CHECK: Verizon Wireless has been consistently adding capacity to its 4G LTE network using AWS spectrum. The additional bandwidth, called XLTE, is now available in more than 400 markets across the country including many areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including most recently, Charleston, West Virginia. XLTE delivers faster peak data speeds and a minimum of double the bandwidth to 4G LTE customers in high traffic areas in markets nationwide where AWS spectrum has been activated. Furthermore, we have additional capacity plans in motion for 2015.
Let’s also take a closer look at what Sprint means by enhanced LTE network capabilities. The “Sprint Spark” cities with additional bandwidth across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are very limited:
Ohio: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus
However, when Verizon Wireless says that it has added additional bandwidth to cities across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia… the expansion is much easier to see and affects a far larger amount of the Midwest population and consumer base:
Ohio: Akron, Ashtabula, Athens, Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton/Springfield, Defiance, East Liverpool/Salem, Findlay-Tiffin, Lima, Mansfield, Marietta, Marion, Portsmouth, Sandusky, Steubenville, Toledo, Youngstown/Warren, Zanesville
Pennsylvania: Allentown/Bethlehem, Altoona, Brandford, Chambergs, DuBois/Clearfield, Erie, Harrisburg, Indiana, Johnstown/Northern Cambria County/Somerset, Lancaster, Meadville-Titusville, New Castle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Shamokin, Sharon, State College, Stroudsburg, Williamsport, York
West Virginia: Charleston, Morgantown, Weirton, Wheeling
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