Despite initial denials, it appears that the Sprint data speed problems that have been piling up in support forums since the iPhone 4S was launched are getting some real attention, by both Apple and Sprint.
An internal email has been sent to Sprint customer service representatives for use when speaking to angry customers. TNW reader Don Southard said he was read the email by a CSR (after calling numerous days and speaking to 6 CSRs all told). Apple and Sprint should be glad that Southard is so dedicated to keeping the iPhone, as some messages on forums have indicated users have just given up.
The message read to Southard said that Apple and Sprint are working together on a “confirmed nationwide issue.” There was no information about a possible TBD for a fix or a possible cause for the issue. He was, on the other hand, offered a free AirRave 3G Airvana hotspot as a “workaround” for the issues, which hardly seems “free” unless they also paid for the cellular data service on the AirRave (and allowed him to terminate service later, also for free).
The email did contain a reference to a “Service Settings” update, which could refer to the carrier settings file that can be updated separately from a new iPhone firmware release. It contains information that customizes an iPhone for a specific carrier.
Thus far, the only official statement from Sprint is as follows:
“Overall, iPhone performance on the Sprint network is consistent with our expectations and the rest of our high-end portfolio. Sprint also did bench-marking of Sprint’s iPhone against competitor’s iPhones and the testing showed little to no performance difference. We are seeing a very low return rate for this device but we are watching the reports of speed issues very closely. We do see opportunities to optimize performance, specifically in high network capacity areas. We see this as typical optimization work and do not have any specific area of concern. Sprint is committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers. We are listening to our customers and working closely with our partners at Apple to ensure optimal performance of iPhone devices on our network.”
We’ll say this: Sprint iPhones in our area (the San Francisco Bay Area) work as you would expect: consistent with the Verizon iPhone. We’re assuming, therefore, this is not a problem in all areas, though it certainly does not appear isolated.
That said, just as with the Verizon iPhone, quite a few people have been waiting for the device on the Sprint network. Hopefully Sprint and Apple can get this rectified quickly enough to keep them satisfied, and also, we hope some olive branch is offered to customers suffering from this, en masse.