I was planning on staying with Sprint. I had every intention. For two years, good service, no problems, excellent coverage. My contract was up, so I needed to renew it. I wanted to get the new Samsung Instinct with my new plan. Sure, its a proprietary OS, its likely to have no applications, but it had a touch driven input, and looks pretty slick, and had all the features I wanted. Its rated very very highly on cnet (in the Top5 Cell Phones) and everywhere else, so I was pretty excited to get it. I figured I could sell my HTC Titan, use the subsidy from signing a new plan, and break even buying the Samsung Instinct and keep the same plan I had. My happy little strategy was about to be shattered.
I go into the store, happy as can be, expecting to walk out with a shiny new phone. Upon declaring my intention to get the phone, I was lethargically and offhandedly informed by a slack-jawed sales associate that I had to get the “Unlimited Everything” plan for $70-$100 a month. I’m used to paying $40, and thats all I really have budgeted for phones per month. The extra charges were mostly for unlimited internet on the phone, a feature I’ve survived without for two years. I immediately started looking for loopholes to get the phone without doubling my monthly rates. Over the two year contract, the higher rates would cost me about one thousand dollars more. I suggesting buying it from a third party. No good. I suggested just activating it without the stupid data plan. Didn’t fly. A complicated scheme was forming in my head to buy the expensive plan, cancel it, not return the phone, and then sign up for my old plan, when the salesman tells me they wont even activate this phone unless I have a data plan. I decried Sprint and angrily marched out of the store, frustrated.
I, a loyal customer of 2 years, was sent out in the cold due to the draconian, anti-consumer, hostile business tactics employed by Sprint in a ploy to get more money from their shiniest little plastic cash cow. What really irks me though, is when I asked for a justification for this policy, they told me “In order to enjoy the Sprint Instinct phone to its maximum potential, you must get the Simply Everything Plan”. Straight from a script. Rehearsed, even. You know what? I don’t need some phone company telling me how to use hardware I purchase with my own money. Sure, I realize this phone is decked out to do the latest and greatest things on the internet. I realize that my phone’s ability will be limited without a data plan. I accept that. I want this phone for its good looking touch screen interface, and music playing ability. Both of those features are unmatched in any other Sprint phone. Telling me I can’t purchase the phone because I don’t want a data plan is just the same as telling me I can’t buy a Ferrari because I won’t drive it 200mph to work in the morning. As hardware that I am the full owner of, I decide its use and I decide what potential I want actualized in the course of its service to me!
The Instinct is Sprint’s flagship phone. Its designed to go head to head with the iPhone. The only thing Sprint has done to make the Instinct like the iPhone is to employ hostile tactics to pander its customers into plans they don’t need. Dangle a crisp carrot in front of the cart, and relax as the cart bumbles down the road to ill-gotten profit. Well, this donkey isn’t having any of it. Sprint, we’ve had a good run, but I’m leaving. Its not me, its you.