I wrote a few months ago about a survey offer I got from Sprint. For about 30 minutes of my time, Sprint was offering up a $5 credit on my next bill. Needless to say, I was happy to do it both to provide feedback and to get a half-decent discount. However, I wrote about my concern about the fact that the survey dealt entirely with Sprint’s voice network, completely leaving out the topic that really needed feedback, which is Sprint’s fairly lackluster data network.
A few weeks after my initial blog post I got another survey from Sprint. This survey focused on device usability, asking me to rate how easy or difficult various tasks were on my phone without any type of feedback or training. It didn’t seem overly important to me, but again I wanted the $5 credit toward my next bill so I provided the feedback they were requesting.
Last week, though, I finally got a third survey which actually focused on Sprint’s data network. It asked all manner of questions which essentially wanted my thoughts on throughput and latency on Sprint’s network (though without using those terms, of course). Needless to say, I was brutally honest in my feedback, expressing my displeasure with Sprint’s network and how I’m frequently almost entirely dependent upon Wifi connectivity to do any sort of data-intensive tasks like streaming audio/video, downloading apps, etc. Even basic web browsing can be painfully slow when it’s happening at dial-up speeds. I tried my best to make it clear that the only reason I remain with the company is the lower cost compared to competing carriers (AT&T is the closest, and it would still run me $20 a month more and that’s with capped data).
After providing my highly negative feedback, the survey also requested information on the cross streets where I know of problems. I provided the information on the address for my office, where for two weeks prior I was only getting about 50 KBps down with a 1000 ms response time. I honestly didn’t expect this to make much of a difference since I’ve provided this information to Sprint before via Twitter and the only responses I’ve gotten have been that there aren’t any “issues” with the towers in the area, meaning they don’t know of any problems so they’re assuming that there must not be any. Thus, when filling out this portion of the survey I expected it to make no difference.
A week later, though, and I have to admit that I’ve noticed my data speeds are significantly better. Rather than getting 50 KBps down, I’ve been getting about 1.5 MBps down pretty regularly, as per the screenshot above. That’s a big deal, as I can stream music and video (at least low-definition video) on it without too much pain. Essentially, my phone is actually usable again even if I’m not on WiFi. I’m not saying for certain that my survey feedback was put to use in this case, but the timing does seem to work out pretty well. I’ve taken to running some daily speed tests on Sprint’s network while I’m in the office, so I’ll eventually see if this is a change that’s here to stay or if it’s just a fluke of the network that will eventually revert to its previous state. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the former.