If Sprint’s new “network enhancements” were designed to quiet complaints by iPhone 4S users, the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier may need to return to the drawing board. Following tweaks for peppier 3G downloads, many Sprint customers still complain of turtle-like connections while lusting after Verizon’s faster network.
The unknown enhancements follow an avalanche of complaints by owners of the iPhone 4S who subscribe to Sprint, the latest carrier to sell Apple’s smartphone. The speed issue arose in October, when the iPhone 4S was introduced. Since then, Sprint’s customer service online message area has attracted 376,000 readers posting more than 1,700 comments. Although the network enhancements began rolling out over the past few weeks, many carrier customers remain unsatisfied, according to CNET.
One Chicago iPhone 4S owner reported 500kbps 3G downloads with downloads at night slowing to 200kps. “I become so frustrated when my friends on Verizon opened Web pages in less than a quarter of the amount of time it takes me,” musician Gabriel Mayhugh told the site. What about downloading apps? Fuhgeddaboudit, the iPhone 4S owner said.
Although the publication could not replicate the speed issue, CNET suggested the complaints may be due to Sprint users who previously owned 4G phones which employed the faster Clearwire network. The iPhone 4S can use only Sprint’s slower 3G connection. Lack of 4G was the second-most cited dislike of iPhone 4S owners polled by ChangeWave Research. The research firm found nearly all iPhone 4S users were satisfied with the device, a higher consumer satisfaction that the iPhone 4.
The problems experienced by Sprint, coupled with the survey results, only increase the need for Apple’s upcoming iPhone to include 4G support. Although much of the blame is falling on the carrier, it is only a question of time before the speed issue is used as a marketing weapon against the iPhone itself.