Since the release of the iPhone 4S a few weeks ago, some Sprint users have reported slow data speeds. Fared Adib, the head of product development for Sprint, was interviewed by CNET and he assures Sprint customers that the problem is being taken seriously.
After acknowledging the issues of a “small number of customers,” Sprint’s been hard at work with Apple trying to sort out the issue. In addition to assuring everyone that they’re trying to resolve the problem quickly, Sprint has emphasized that only a small number of people are affected:
Adib said the complaints represent a single-digit percentage of the base of iPhone 4S users on Sprint.
The crux of the matter is that the conditions which lead to slow data speeds on the iPhone 4S are hard to replicate by Sprint. Adib has mentioned that they are not able to discern whether the issue is hardware-based or software-based yet, either. This is further compounded by the fact that many of Sprint’s iPhone 4S users – as well all of their Android users – are not affected, and so the problem is not universal.
Sprint seems to be in a tough situation here. Sprint had finally secured the ability to compete directly with their larger rivals, AT&T and Verizon, by offering the iPhone 4S. In order to compete with AT&T’s faster speeds on the iPhone 4S and Verizon’s network quality, Sprint has been focusing its advertising on its unlimited data plan for the iPhone 4S. This speed issue, while not universal, is still widespread enough to do some damage to its public image, meaning Sprint may have to work harder to catch up with its competitors.
Unfortunately, Sprint had nothing significant to report on a solution. Adib has assured Sprint users that once the problem has been properly identified and reproduced, a fix will come very quickly. Despite all of this, he has remained confident in Sprint’s abilities, citing very low return rates for the iPhone 4S and an overall high customer satisfaction. He also noted that Sprint has many customers who have purchased the iPhone 4S as their first smartphone and so they would not notice a speed difference in the first place.
CNET has pointed out that Sprint customers who upgraded to an iPhone 4S were already likely to see a comparative decrease in speed. AT&T is the only carrier that offers faster speeds via its HSPA+ network. Sprint and Verizon iPhone 4S users are limited to standard 3G speeds. In recent years, Sprint’s primary push has been its high-speed 4G network, something that their iPhone 4S users won’t be able to take advantage of. Users who have switched from a 4G phone to the iPhone 4S would notice this drop in network speed anyway.
Do you see a difference on your iPhone 4S on Sprint? Share your experiences below.