Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I had just wrote up some thoughts on the general marketing of Sprint's
smartphone "Premium" charge while looking at various account details
today. I found two forms on the site that wouldn't process and
decided to punt instead of searching around for another contact page.
If you could pass along the following comments to someone who deals
with data plans or marketing or smartphones, I'd be very appreciative.
Thanks for your help,
I'm looking at the "analyze my account" page and understand everything
listed. However I would like to share some thoughts on the "Premium
Data" section listed after "data" and "4G" items. I agreed to the $10
additional data fee on my current phone in recognition of the
additional radio and 4G-like service it is able to take advantage of.
To now change that stance and say that 4G data is free, but that there
is some other ethereal premium data service, is disingenuous I feel.
There is in fact nothing "premium" about the data services I am
consuming, if not for their higher speeds due to an occasional 4G
connection. In reality you have classed my device as a
high-data-consumption device and are charging more because I am more
likely to use large amounts of data access. It is a misnomer to term
this segment "Premium" data consumers, when in fact it refers to an
amount of data. The crux of the issue is that you are selling
"unlimited" data access (an offering which keeps me subscribing to
Sprint) and then decide that certain devices need to pay for "more
unlimited" data access. This is, if you will excuse so crude a
simile, like charging fat people more for the buffet.
This is the help text that is displayed when I click on the "Premium
Data" section mentioned at the beginning:
"This phone can do it all and then some. Because we've boosted your
data experience with this phone's amazing services and features,
you'll need this add-on. Enjoy:
A wicked fast processor to make your apps run smoother and faster on
our Sprint 3G and 4G network
Top quality media experience with oversized screen, high resolution
video and HD recording
High-quality pics to snap and share with friends and family"
This makes little sense and is very offputting. My "data experience"
remains unchanged from my last phone, aside from the WiMax radio,
which is apparently not referred to in premium data. All the items
listed in this section are hardware benchmarks that have the potential
to create large files and make copious use of data. That is, a larger
data amount. I have paid a premium for a new device which connects to
the same data service.
I'm not trying to tell you that it's wrong for smart phone users to
pay more for data service than dumb phone users. I'm saying you
should be more upfront in the plan designations you use. Don't sell
me an unlimited data plan for $25 and then add a mysterious $10
"premium" fee for using more unlimited data. (it would make more
sense if that $10 made the unlimited data faster) If you must, sell
unlimited data for $25 to dumb phones and $35 for smart phones.
That's much less confusing about what we're paying for and what we're
getting. Of course I'd much rather see you disclose the limits that
are in place, either physically or based on policy. If you want users
to pay more when they pass 500 MB per month, say so. And be honest
about the average speeds users can expect, not the theoretical
laboritory speeds that will never happen in practice. I think your
customers will respond much more positively to frank disclosure and
respectful claims of capability than snappy text about "wicked fast
services", infinite resources and intangible premium upgrades.