Shares of both Sprint and Palm tumbled yesterday after an analyst issued a report that suggested that Sprint is failing to lure customers away from rival carriers with the launch of the Palm Pre smartphone earlier this month.
Seeing how it hasn't even been two weeks since the Pre launched and the devices sold out almost immediately, it may be a little premature to say that Sprint and Palm are failing here (but when has Wall Street taken something like that into consideration). It is true, though, that Sprint and Palm both need to up their games in terms of marketing and advertising not only the Pre but also the better-value service plans that the company is offering.
I've long said - and am growing tired of saying - that consumers should quit choosing wireless service based on the device and really start making their decisions on the quality and pricing of the service. If everyone did that, maybe there would be a lot less hype over the iPhone, seeing how it's on AT&T's really poor network.
Here's Sprint's chance to take advantage of the public relations beating that AT&T is experiencing over its network quality. I can see the commercial now...
SPRINT: "Hello. I'm Sprint."
AT&T: "Hello. I'm AT&T."
SPRINT: "Wow, AT&T. People sure are picking on you lately over these iPhone service problems."
AT&T: "Are they? I haven't noticed. No one has called me on my iPhone to complain."
SPRINT: "Really? No calls about that?"
AT&T: "Well, it's hard to say. My signal goes in and out at home sometimes. And in the office. And in the car, too. I might have missed a call or two. But, you know, we're working on....."
(AT&T goes silent)
SPRINT: "AT&T? You OK? You there?"
SPRINT: "Ummm... AT&T? You still with us?"
(AT&T springs back to life.)
AT&T: "Hello. I'm AT&T."
SPRINT: "Right. We've established that."
AT&T: "Sorry. I must have faded out for a..."
(AT&T goes silent again)
SPRINT: "Wow. He seems to do that a lot. I wonder if iPhone users have noticed?"
Now's your chance, Sprint. Wall Street wants to see new subscribers, not old subscribers upgrading their phones. According to a Bloomberg report, Sprint has lost more than 4 million contract customers in the past year, lured by devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry Storm. Apple had success with its switch campaign by pointing out the flaws of its biggest competitor and playing up its strong points.
There's no reason Sprint shouldn't be doing the same - before it's too late.