wm_9-14-2011 5-24-15 PM

The newest version of Sprint's weekly "playbook" has been sent around to employees, and as usual, we have a copy. Sadly, this week's edition doesn't exactly inspire confidence for the future of the nation's third-largest carrier - in fact, one of Sprint's primary benefits, the Premier program, will be disappearing down the drain shortly. It's not all bad news, though, so let's dig in and see what's up and coming in the world of Sprint.

The Death of Sprint Premier

wm_9-14-2011 5-21-57 PM wm_9-14-2011 5-22-15 PM

In retrospect, we should have seen this one coming - Sprint has, after all, been gradually decreasing the benefits of its Premier program over the last year or so. Well as of September 1st (that's right, the changes have already gone into effect), no new customers are able to enroll in the program.

Notifications will start going out to Sprint customers tomorrow, and those already enrolled in Premier will be allowed to keep their benefits until December 31. On a related note, if you're a Premier Gold customer who will be eligible for an upgrade between now and the end of next year, you'll be able to use said upgrade until December 31, 2012. However, once you do upgrade your device, any future upgrades will be managed by the "New for You" program. Speaking of which...

Upgrades Now Available Once Every 20 Months

wm_9-14-2011 5-21-57 PM

And now for some good news: whereas Premier Silver customers were allowed one upgrade every 22 months, under the "New for You" program (Sprint's new upgrade policy), customers will be able to purchase a new device once every 20 months. Admittedly, "New for You" also raises the upgrade fee on Sprint's website from $18 to $36, but given all the other bad news in this playbook, let's try to be optimistic about "New for You," shall we?

wm_9-14-2011 5-22-15 PM

Shorter Return Period

wm_9-14-2011 5-22-43 PM

Finally, as much as we hate to introduce even more negative news into the mix, there's Sprint's updated return and exchange policy. The return period has been lowered from a commendable 30 days to a remarkably brief 2 weeks.

wm_9-14-2011 5-23-51 PM wm_9-14-2011 5-23-36 PM

The change goes into effect tomorrow, September 15, so if you're hoping to snag a device while Sprint's current return policy is in effect, you'd best hurry.

Thanks, Captain Anonymous!

Jaroslav Stekl
Jaroslav Stekl is a tech enthusiast whose favorite gadgets almost always happen to be the latest Android devices. When he's not writing for Android Police, he's probably hiking, camping, or canoeing. He is also an aspiring coffee aficionado and an avid moviegoer.

  • Ray

    Slowly they turn.... Step by step..... And murder all the reasons that I'm with them over the big 2. There's really only one left. Unlimited data. When IT goes, I go

    • shmo

      and go where exactly? lol no one else left with true unlimited.

      • Fifth313ment

        Well like Ray said when "Unlimited" goes I go. As to where, if unlimited is gone I would rather be on the best network in America which is Verizon. If I have no reason to stay with Sprint I would rather be on a network with home type internet connection speeds. It comes down to which is less crappy. I might even think of going to MetroPCS as they have LTE in my area, even though they cap it at about 2MB/sec Down & Up. And they call this capitalism?! If we as a people, up and left the big four and all went to MetroPCS for at least 1 month the world would be a better place as all the big carriers would drop their prices and have great deals. Man I wish someone could initiate something like that?!

  • Coldman

    What a barrage of crap news from Sprint (outside of Epic 4G Touch). Oh well, so long as they don't cut unlimited plans, I'll be OK.

  • Jaz

    Sprint better be thinking this through. Instead of taking things away they should be focusing on improving their network. While Sprint is taking things away verizon keeps duplicating their 4g network like there is no tomorrow. And att is starting to deploy their lte network. If the tmobile att merger goes through Sprint is most likely out. I hate to see it but when you think Sprint is doing good, they shoot themselves in the foot.

  • Stacey

    I've been a loyal Sprint customer, but I agree we're losing faster then we're gaining. As soon as unlimited data goes, which it will at some point, unless the grandfather it for current customers, which they probably won't, I'll be long gone. Since I'm still waiting for 4G service here in Phoenix, which I'll admit isn't NY or LA but jesh it's a major metropolitan area.

  • Justin

    Not a big deal. Sprint still has the best plans, excellent customer service and a sweet selection of phones. Now that they're cutting some of the fluff, they can put more money into improving existing infrastructure and the move to LTE.

  • Jeremy

    Well, this all but cements me into jumping to the Verizon Nexus. Total crap move.

  • boom1378

    Ha sucks for sprint soon they will get rid of unlimited data and there will be no reason to be with them. Atleast I'm grandfathered in on Verizon and have lte.

  • sh_tjustgotreal

    If they want to pull this stunt, then let them. But like others are saying, pull data... and fuck it, you better just sell your asses to Big Red, because that's who we'll all be going to anyway.

  • James

    I agree that in general these are negative changes. The only positive seems to be that Silver Premier customers who had to wait 22 months for a phone upgrade will get it 2 months sooner under the new plan. The increased upgrade fee isn't good, but being a one-time thing, it's not terrible either. Halving the return period seems like a worse move though. I think others are right that Sprint needs to be careful that they don't drop so much that customers don't want to stay with / switch to them. Moves like these seem to be taking them dangerously close to losing rather than gaining, given some comments I've read.

  • Tiny

    I think you all may be overreacting, I believe Sprint has something up its sleeve. I still have faith in Hesse.

    • boom1378

      Ha yeah following in Verizon and at&ts footprint. Once the iPhone comes bye bye everything you used to have.

  • Tiny

    Luckily I wasn't talking about a phone.

    • shmo

      Listen to Tiny! You may learn something.

  • Matt

    Did any of you idiots even bother to ask why Sprint is doing this? Perhaps they had no choice. AT&T and Verizon both used to have 30 day return policies. They both changed them to 14 days shortly before getting the iPhone.

    • shmo

      Matt your the smartest one on here dude. People are so quick to slaughter the hand that feeds them.

    • lincthra

      So... we drop to 14 days because they want to carry a junk phone from Apple? Keep your iJunk off our carrier and leave the 30 days alone instead.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        Exactly. I don't see why getting the iPhone translates into getting a shorter return period. Plus, the bigger story here is the cancellation of the 1-year upgrade as the main Premier Gold perk. I could care less about the return period myself.

    • http://androidpolice.com Jaroslav Stekl

      Actually, AT&T still has a 30-day return period on almost all of its phones.

  • goukisan

    this sounds exactly like the changes at verizon before the iphone launched

  • Tiny

    True. The iPhone is a device with a high subsidy and international value so Verizon protected themselves with the $350 ETF and 14 day similar to what Sprint is doing.

  • http://gthing.net sam

    I would rather not have the iPhone on our network. It ruined the neighborhood.

  • iceblue

    The real truth, i remember when sprint was going bankrupt, they got new CEO and he fixed them. Got the best smart phones in as they still do. He droped the plans to 99$ unlimited everything! Sprint came alive! Then they droped the data plan to a 5gig cap and started droping towers. Now u can say they went to shit at this point. Stores closing everywhere so they went back to unlimited and droped plan to $69 with the failing obama economy! There not recovering yet and then they mess with the customers again. They need to get it together and fast! Verizon is a joke there only concern is how to screw you out of as much money as posible!

  • Nick

    Who really cares about this, besides the one gold member on a family plan or an individual gold member? I'm not trolling... I'm just saying that Sprint has to make cuts *somewhere* and I'd rather have them do all of these measures then raise the price/data plan.

    • sandy

      seriously this only affects those that must upgrade every 12. you don't HAVE to upgrade. sheesh. subsidy is a bitch and what people don't ever realize. want to upgrade every 12 that bad.. visit ebay for a used or no contract price point.

  • sandy

    you all do realize more customers are switching to Sprint than leaving Sprint right? Get over it.

    • boom1378

      It's because sprint has been losing money for the past few quarters

  • Simon Belmont

    The introduction of the Apple iPhone is negatively impacting the existing policies and customers of another mobile network. What else is new?

    From what I can tell, even after the twenty months, you get the $150.00 discount, but it is off the full price of the handset now, and not the subsidized price that it used to be. This, coupled with the smaller return window, is a pretty awful turn of events for Sprint customers. I am glad that Sprint is sticking with its guns on the unlimited data plans for now, but how long will that last? There will not be much purpose in staying with Sprint if that goes away, and it probably will eventually.

  • RobG

    Thanks to you historians who point out that AT&T and Verizon changed their return policies soon before getting the iPhone. Also note that both carriers changed their data plan pricing after the iPhone too.

    All this crap is coming directly from Apple. It's extortion - Apple holds the carrier over a barrel and basically says: Run your company to meet Apple's needs or you won't get a piece of the "wildly popular" iPhone. You know what else is popular in this country - obesity, unemployment and erectile dysfunction - I don't want to join any of those cliques either.

    Once again Sprint is acting out of desperation. They put all their eggs in the "overage fees" basket back in the mid 2000s and lost all but about 137 customers once the Feds allowed us to port our phone numbers and go to someone else. They need to take the money I'm giving 'em and spend it on responsible phone company sh*t like improving network infrastructure and partnering with hardware manufacturers to make hot phones.

    Chasing the iPhone's tail is going to be their downfall. Even with the newest iPhone, they'll still be the #3 carrier. The device won't have 4G, and even if it did, Sprint's not building out their 4G network because they need that $ to wipe Apple's *ss. Verizon and AT&T will get the new iPhone soon enough and they'll have better networks to run 'em on (because they invested in that "responsible phone company sh*t" I was talking about earlier). Sprint thinks it's going to lock iPhone Clones in for 2 years because its first out with the newest Apple turd, but those Clones are both finicky and litigious. They will switch after a few months and class-action sue Sprint for trapping them if they feel going somewhere else will give them a better iPhone experience. Mark my f**king words, Sprint, this is your future if you don't get a clue.

  • RockingmyEvo3D

    Bottomline people better start realizing that without question sprint has bent over backwards to support customers as well as there flagship device the evo 4g and now the evo 3d. Pay attention to the loads of updates this device has received since day one launch june 4th 2010 and the dev support that exist with this brand. If you want a cellphone go to the other carriers that have nothing thats on the same bar as the evo line. What we have on sprint is a well respected brand within the android community something that HTC supports and provides the best yearly as well as the best updates ever out of any android device on the market. Don't be fooled sprint knew exactly what they were doing from day one by bringing the evo line to market as well as 4g back in june 2010 it took the third carrier in the US to bring 4g to market it wasn't verizon and it sure wasn't ass t&t why couldn't they do it they had the money and the spectrum???? Don't fool yourself if you want the best top of the line android devices yearly and you are a current member of the evo brand rather you have the evo 4g, evo shift, evo view 4g or the evo 3d you are part of a family of device that grow yearly and have the best support by the manufacturer as well as the carrier compared to any android device on the market or any current brand on the market. Time has come for all customers of sprint and all current owners of the evo line of devices to support there carrier the one that has supported you whenever you wanted and needed all the things you have recieved. Bottomline Mr. Dan Hesse has done more than well to bring sprint from where they were years ago to where they are now definately respected in the industry. It will be because of sprint that stopped this merger that was suppose to take place now all of a sudden we will see the iphone 4 and iphone 5 on sprint what more can anyone want all the best device on the number three carrier in the US plus all the best dualcore unlimited usage devices trust me you won't find no carrier better or devices that will or can compare...I own the EVO 3D and had the OG EVO last year so I know exactly what I am talking about. Our network will be completely different from October 7th on and with the technology that came in the evo 3d trust me sprint future proofed that device knowing exactly what they were going to do...This what you can EXPECT OCTOBER 7TH 2011......http://gizmofusion.com/2011/09/sprint-vision-network-enhancements-evdo-rev-b-1x-advanced-much-faster-3g-speeds-on-the-way/

  • RockingmyEvo3D

    Meanwhile other carrier better get there acts together ESPICALLY AT&T WITH THE FAILED MERGER and VERIZON with there OVERPRICED DEVICES. I don't know which is worst in my world they both SUCK...

    • BOOM!!@&

      Let me spell this out for you yarrell since i know you have the intelligence of a 3 year old. The EVO 3d isn't even the best phone on sprint there are 2 better phones(epic touch 4g and motorola photon) Plus sprint is already behind the other 2 carriers in terms of network rollout of lte. Hell even at&t has lte markets live. I am sure sprint will screw it up like they did with wimax and not expand their network for over a year. Not to mention with verizon's upcoming lte lineup i guess you can hold onto your EVO 3d once verizon gets the prime before the other carriers and not to mention the htc vigor. I would pay a little more to have a phone that works no matter where I go and not be a cheap bastard like you. Then again you can't afford verizon so thats why you stick with sprint.

  • zevgoldman

    Get a smart phone and unlimited service for $45.00 a month from Straight Talk available from Wal-Mart.
    Carlos Slim Hula, the richest man in the world is the brains behind Straight Talk.

  • Mr.Firefighter

    Iv had nothing but problems with my HTC EVO and sprints customer service (TOO MANY!) and now these changes! I need to get out of my contract with Sprint ASAP and go elsewhere!... There's not even a service center close where I live now only spint stores that's are only concerned about selling you one of their garbage ass phones with even worse service!

  • http://www.autopten.com/ John McCheap

    Sprint sucks for me from now on! as well as the crackberrys, welcome Verizon + iPhone :)

  • Scott Cornelius

    Some really bad decisions Sprint! The CEO's from Sprint and Netflix must have drank the same Coolaid.