Sprint was the only one of the big four carriers to clearly support Title II and full net neutrality rules, but since the rules’ passage the company’s behavior has been a little bit strange. Last week, Sprint announced a new “All In” promotion that offers new users unlimited text, voice and data for $60 a month, plus a $20 device lease fee. The plan was supposed to be the company’s game changing assault on current industry darling T-Mobile, but Sprint curiously included a small caveat in the fine print of the program; absolutely all video going over the Sprint network would be throttled to 600 kbps regardless of network congestion:
“To improve data experience for the majority of users, throughput may be limited, varied or reduced on the network. Streaming video speeds will be limited to 600Kbps at all times, which may impact quality. Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds: (1) 800 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100MB or a majority of KB.”
Users quickly made it clear that they weren’t interested in an “unlimited” data plan with such limits, forcing Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure — who claimed he was asleep in Tokyo during all the ruckus — to reverse course and remove the 600 kbps limit. This flub came after the company’s CEO had been making it perfectly clear Sprint is planning to kill unlimited data entirely, one of the few things people actually like about Sprint. In short, Sprint’s trying very hard lately to act like the more-disruptive T-Mobile, but as the uncool “dad jeans” of the wireless sector, isn’t quite sure how to go about it.
With the company’s promo arriving with a thud, Sprint apparently tried to mimic T-Mobile in another way: mirror the trash-talking of T-Mobile’s brash CEO John Legere. Sprint’s Claure quickly decided the best course of action would be to head to Twitter and insist that T-Mobile’s recent “uncarrier” efforts (specifically its handset early-upgrade program) were little more than finely crafted bullshit:
@JohnLegere I am so tired of your Uncarrier bullshit when you are worse than the other two carriers together. Your cheap misleading lease
— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) July 2, 2015
.@marceloclaure you mad bro?
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) July 2, 2015
The problem is that T-Mobile’s amusing uncarrier efforts (which have included eliminating device subsidies, hidden fees, and other industry pain points) have been working. The magenta-hued carrier has been adding more new subscribers per quarter than any other U.S. operator, feeding a desperate consumer desire for better deals and less fine print. Sprint, meanwhile, has labored in last place in most network performance and customer satisfaction studies. As such, offering up some bullshit, then deriding other companies for engaging in bullshit, probably isn’t the best way to reverse those lagging fortunes.