Sprint’s had a rocky few years. The carrier has the smallest network of any of the “big four” nationwide carriers, and thanks to T-Mobile’s Uncarrier strategy, its status as the number-one cheap cell company is under threat. Nonetheless, it’s forged ahead with innovative solutions like the Magic Box home cell station, and it’s well-poised to make the most of 5G, thanks to its high-bandwidth spectrum holdings and experiments with crucial tech like MIMO.
But all of the future optimism in the world can’t make the reality right now any better — and things are looking grim. Not only has Sprint placed last in nationwide comparisons this year, but the latest consumer survey from Consumer Reports ranks Sprint in cold dead last place.
The Consumer Reports Cell-Phone Service Survey polls Consumer Reports’ 119,772 subscribers who use prepaid or postpaid cellphone surveys, and asks them to rank different providers on criteria like voice and data performance, problems with the website, and the frequency of telemarketing calls.
The top scores in this year’s survey went to smaller prepaid MVNOs, namely Consumer Cellular, Project Fi, and Ting. T-Mobile finished the best out of any of the carriers that have their own network. US Cellular was in second place for companies with their own network, but sadly for Sprint, it kept last place all to itself.
Although it’s not surprising to see Sprint fall down in network rankings, it’s more surprising that the score was so low on a survey that measures consumer satisfaction, rather than network quality. Sprint’s plans are cheap, and normally free of the kind of fees you expect from a postpaid carrier, so you’d have to assume that its customers are happy with what they’re paying for. Apparently, not so much.
“Several of the carriers that rated very highly in the survey, namely Project Fi, Republic Wireless and Ting are MVNO customers of Sprint who offer cellular service on the Sprint network. Regardless, as a leading wireless provider, we are always working to enhance the overall experience and satisfaction of our customers,” Sprint said in a statement. “We have been working to densify and optimize our network. Last month we announced that Sprint will spend $5-6 billion over the next 18 months on network improvements across the country.”