Sprint: An Epic Win?

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) wants you to know that "not all Galaxy S devices are created equal" as it launches its second WiMax smartphone, the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Epic 4G, in the US.

Sprint had piles of data sheets extolling the virtues of the Epic above other devices in Samsung's Galaxy S Android-based smartphone line carried by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US Inc. , and Verizon Wireless in stores as it launched the Epic this morning. (See Samsung Gets Epic With WiMax Smarty for Sprint.)

The key difference between the rest of the phones and the Epic is that it supports 3G, WiFi, and so-called "4G" WiMax in the markets where it is available. This is something of a moot point in Manhattan since Sprint's WiMax partner, Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), hasn't yet gone live with the faster mobile broadband in the Big Apple, although this is due to happen by the end of the year. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck.)

Nonetheless, Sprint says it currently has "4G" service in over 35 markets in the US with 120 million people covered by the end of 2010. The operator is also highlighting the full Qwerty keyboard and dual on-board cameras, which will enable video chat, as winning factors for the Epic over the rest of the Galaxy S line.

Phone freaks online actually seem more concerned with debating the merits of Sprint's first WiMax phone, the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) EVO, against the Epic. It's a valid concern, as the HTC device retails at $199.99, compared to $249.99 for the Epic.

Sprint has even made a video contrasting the two:

Its not yet clear how the Epic is selling compared to the EVO, which was in limited supply for weeks after its June launch. Sprint staff at a 34th Street store in Manhattan ducked any questions on first-day sales this morning.

Nonetheless, Samsung says that it has already shipped 1 million Galaxy S phones to the US. AT&T and T-Mobile have Galaxy S phones out; Verizon Wireless is due to launch one next. (See Samsung's US Galaxy Quest.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:25:06 PM
re: Sprint: An Epic Win?

Samsung says it will launch a new device on September 16th and officially unveil the Samsung Media Hub, software that lets users download and buy movies and other multimedia on their phone.

[email protected] 12/5/2012 | 4:25:05 PM
re: Sprint: An Epic Win?

For a time, I not only used the HTC EVO, but had a Samsung Epic on order as well. However, I'm not willing to be part of Sprint's pre-deployment experiment for our area while paying full rates and with lines that I use for business. The cheats at Sprint have burned their bridge with me regardless of how fantastic the EVO was and how great the Epic might also be.

[email protected] 12/5/2012 | 4:25:05 PM
re: Sprint: An Epic Win?

Sprint claimed to have deployed blanket coverage of 4G for our area north of Seattle, which prompted me to try Sprint as a replacement for my existing AT&T service. I thought that with 4G in at least two phones, I would have a failsafe for Internet access if the fiber to my office went out. Well other than the Sprint stores, which are powered up on micro-cells, the 4G service never worked anywhere in the 40 square miles around that same store, at least not with the HTC EVO. As a result, I consider the 4G marketing campaign by Sprint to be a gigantic fraud until they are actually providing the coverage that they claim.

Sprint support was equally abysmal and unprofessional in their deflections of problems to excuses like "4G is so new, we are still testing it". Several Sprint reps conceded that they were hearing similar complaints from, their words now, "thousands of customers".

Strangely, Clear devices do work fine in our area. 4G is new for them too, but they have it working with their devices and provisioning.

Sprint call quality and voice coverage are also uniquely poor for our market. So I reject the notion that Sprint is a first-line innovator. As a recent victim of their fraud.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:25:04 PM
re: Sprint: An Epic Win?

Huh, interesting, Sprint is actually running on Clearwire's WiMax network -- they call it "4G" -- so it's interesting that Clearwire is working better in the same area. Some kind of provisioning problem, maybe? 

I would love to hear other's experiences in this kind of circumstance. 

[email protected] 12/5/2012 | 4:25:02 PM
re: Sprint: An Epic Win?

With the initial provisioning problems, the 4G service did not work at all for several days even while the 3G did work. The provisioning for the $10/month add-on for the phone as also separate from the provisioning for the $30/month 4G bump-up of the mobile WiFi hot spot feature.

All told, Sprint's price for a single phone with the 4G add-ons was higher than my cost for iPhone4 on AT&T with 2G plan for the phone, and a completely separate Clear 4G mobile WiFi router.

I don't believe that the present 4G offering from Sprint can survive as priced because the entrenched alternatives are already superior in price, performance, and coverage.

If I were a product exec at HTC or Samsung, I would be furious with Sprint and shopping my product elsewhere.

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