Sprint has now canceled its early upgrade program

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Ever since Sprint killed the Sprint Premier program, along with yearly upgrades, it’s been experimenting with various programs to still allow customers to upgrade early. Its latest effort, dubbed the “Upgrade Now” program, went into effect around June, and even though it was more expensive than previous options, it was still nice that Sprint even gave customers the option at all.

But now, that program is officially cancelled. According to a Sprint employee on this thread in the official Sprint community forums:

The Upgrade Now program has been suspended. We have no information currently as to why, or whether it will return in its current form or another form entirely. The program was designed as an experiment as to the viability of offering an alternative method for an early upgrade program. I do not know if it ended up possibly costing Sprint more than the program brought in, or what; but at the moment it is gone, with no guarantee that it will return.

So there you have it. As far as I know, there is now no way to upgrade early without paying the full retail price of the phone. No exceptions, apparently.

With the Sprint network in the current state it’s in, and monthly prices comparable to T-Mobile and closely approaching AT&T and Verizon, can anyone give me any compelling reason to stick with Sprint when it’s time to get a new phone?

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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48 thoughts on “Sprint has now canceled its early upgrade program

  • Avatar of me
    December 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm
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    Sometimes you can convince the retention team in giving up a free early upgrade.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Adam Bublitz
    December 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm
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    John, honestly just wait for lte in your area. I’m not sure if you have it or not..but in Kansas City we do have it and i love it. If Sprint didn’t have LTE here i would’ve jumped ship with the rest of my family and gone to Verizon. Sprints 4g is incredible, i used 3 gigabytes of it monthly. I stay because of the unlimited data, however if you’re not scheduled to get 4g lte in the next year i would definitely leave.

    Reply
    • Avatar of John Freml
      December 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm
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      My city – the capital of Illinois – has not appeared on any lists I’ve seen for LTE. Not only are data speeds terrible, but it’s also impossible to place calls between around 3 p.m.-6 p.m. If I’m not at home connected to WiFi at that time, my phone is basically useless.

      I’ve been a strong supporter of Sprint, and I’ve been very patient – go back a year and read any of my articles that has anything to do with Sprint. I think I’ve been fairly understanding. But enough is enough!

      Just my 2 cents, at least.

      Reply
      • Avatar of John Freml
        December 28, 2012 at 2:15 pm
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        I should add that I wasn’t too impressed with the LTE I experienced up in Chicago. At one point, it was about 1500 kbps – what a decent 3G signal should be! *sigh*

        Reply
        • Avatar of Adam Bublitz
          December 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm
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          Well at that point i would consider switching. Paying that monthly bill for an unusable service is ridiculous. Especially if you can’t even use your phones at parts of the day. My service used to be bad but never that bad. I live close to Sprints headquarters so maybe that helps…I know that Verizon is a bit more expenisve, but they really do have good service.

          Reply
          • Avatar of John Freml
            December 29, 2012 at 7:51 am
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            Since I’m under contract, I’ve decided to wait until the next round of Nexus devices is announced, or that rumored Google Motorola X phone. That’s when I will probably make the switch… Unless Sprint has done something drastic in my area.

        • Avatar of Simon Belmont
          December 29, 2012 at 8:47 am
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          I guess I’m one of the few lucky ones that gets decent 3G speeds and great Wi-Max speeds in my area. I regularly get 1 – 1.5Mbps (pretty good for Sprint 3G), and 10 – 20Mbs (not even kidding here) on Wi-Max.

          I wish everyone could get those speeds. The speeds haven’t been a factor for me. I’m just kind of disappointed with Sprint’s (and HTC’s) lack of support on the EVO 3D. I doubt we’ll see Jelly Bean, but there is a slight chance. Also, I was banking on a Nexus 4 for Sprint, which isn’t Sprint’s fault, but it’s forcing me to think about jumping ship to T-Mobile or an MVNO like StraightTalk to get a Nexus 4. I will just wait until the SGS4 or next EVO is announced and play it by ear, I guess.

          Reply
      • Avatar of Justin Murray
        December 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm
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        This was where I was at with Sprint back in August. In the metro Atlanta area, the 3G data was very slow (pretty much useless), 4G LTE coverage sucked and still does, and WiMAX was only available in very few areas. I had an Evo 4G LTE and returned it because it had some signal issues and was not really an upgrade over my Evo 3d in terms of data speeds (why I got the LTE version).

        I had two EVO 3D’s on my account that were still in their first year of the contract but got Sprint to waive the cancellation fees because 1) I was basically paying for a service that I was not able to use at my house, 2) the Airwave only worked with an active Internet connection (my ISP sucks), and 3) I could be in the middle of an area that should have excellent coverage but I still had crappy data speeds. I was basically paying for a service that did not work like it should have.

        After numerous phone calls with Sprint, I finally made a deal to return my equipment (both phones and the airwave) and Sprint would waive the cancellation fees. They paid $260 per phone, I would have been able to get about $150 per phone.

        I was with Sprint from Sept 2000 until August 2012. My patience ran out with them and I went with AT&T and their family share plan. I now pay about $15 more per month but have 4G LTE and service that works everywhere I go and at my home. When and if Sprint ever gets their act together, I may go back with them.

        Reply
        • Avatar of Mike
          December 31, 2012 at 8:45 am
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          I switched from T-Mo to Sprint for the EVO 4G – got it on launch day. I also got the EVO 3D on launch day because I loved the EVO brand.

          Sprint’s network, on the other hand, has always been the challenge. We payed for Wimax even though I couldn’t get it at home or work. The phone reception in our house was terrible, and an AirRave, which they made me pay for, helped intermittently at best. The last straw was when their 3G slowed to the point where it felt like trying to run through a mud pool.

          We switched to Verizon in October and we haven’t looked back or regretted the decision in the least. It’s a shame – I was very excited to go to Sprint (even though I had been very happy with T-Mo), but I was more excited to leave them.

          Reply
        • Avatar of Mike
          December 31, 2012 at 8:46 am
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          BTW, I replied to Justin’s post because I also live in Atlanta and my experience has also been very similar.

          Reply
  • Avatar of spencer311
    December 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm
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    I agree… If my work didn’t pay for my phone I would switch. I dont use unlimited data. Its to slow. I use WiFi for any big download. I probably dont even use 1 gig a month. We have 4g lte but it is not stable at all.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Me
      December 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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      “I dont use unlimited data. Its to slow. I use WiFi for any big download.”

      This sums me up as well.

      Tried to use wifitether for my sons ipod……fail Sprint Fail.

      Waiting for the next round of new phones to hit this summer. If I cant get a constant 3g signal in my areaby then thats stable, bye bye Sprint.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Joe
    December 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm
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    It was a horrible program to begin with – tacking on an extra fee to renew early and force you into another 2 year contract?

    Granted, it was good for those who broke their phone, wanted something newer, and were content to keep that product for two years.

    If you push hard enough, they’ll give you an upgrade 6 months before it’s ‘officially’ available, so try that before using any other program they offer. When your contract is almost up, you have them by the balls.

    The exception is if you add a line afterwards, meaning you’re tied into the contract no matter what. They prefer you having one phone that you pay $90 for than having 3 that amount to $180 – they’ll do whatever they can to make the most money off of you.

    Sprint is still the best of the major carriers (though T-Mobile is getting much better), and compared to my friends’ bill, I feel I get a good deal. In full disclosure, I have Wimax but no LTE, but expect it by my next upgrade. If I don’t get it, I’m not likely to switch carriers, but instead refuse an upgrade to stay out of contract.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      December 29, 2012 at 8:58 am
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      I, amazingly, get good speeds with Sprint’s Wi-Max. I see anywhere from 10 – 20Mbps in my area.

      That’s faster than my home ISP. I have NO LTE in my area right now, so it would stink to lose 4G speeds when I’m out and about.

      Reply
  • Avatar of pint3rd
    December 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm
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    I can’t give you a good reason at all! I’m only 8 months into a 2 year contract thanks to this “flagship” EVO and if I didn’t care about my credit I’d jump ship! Just waiting till my etf drops to a comfortable price and I’m out. With their on and off service I might as well get Cricket!

    Reply
    • Avatar of Anonymously Informing
      December 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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      You know, if you want to jump ship early, if you root your evo and tether your phone to you computer and use an obnoxious amount of data while on roaming, they will cancel your plan with no charges to you.

      I remember reading that on some xda forum. It’s really cruel to do that, but you don’t pay a dime. And you keep your phone.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Ofir
    December 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm
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    I agree that there is little reason to stick with Sprint… in fact, I honestly think that it’s going to be good to just go prepaid from now on and pay for the phone upfront. Nexus 5 (or 4S if they want to copy Apple’s naming structure) all the way for me when it comes out.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Samson
    December 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm
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    Unlimited data is the only thing holding me. The EVO line was another reason but, while I do love it, the way sprint has somewhat ignored it bothers me.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Dirk
      December 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm
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      What good is an unlimited ocean of data if you have to sip it through a coffee stirrer?

      I came to Trudge (as I call them) for the Palm Pre (RIP, a darn shame about that) and then upgraded a year later to the OG EVO 4G, getting to pay the $10 “EVO tax” despite living in Detroit, an area that never finished WiMax and isn’t even announced for getting LTE now.

      After the GB update screwed up the EVO, causing me to waste FOUR MONTHS trying to work around it, I plunked down $500 for an off-contract GS2. At the time, people were getting free upgrades because of a TOS change, but I didn’t want to tie myself down to another two-years of insufferably slow dial-up with no clear path of where Sprint was going. I had 8 months to go on my contract and it was worth it to be flexible. I figured that by June 2012, they’d have a clue and newer phones would be out. Well, the newer phones came in the form of the GS3, but as a network I’d had it with them. My GS2 was a Ferrari stuck on muddy unpaved roads.

      AT&T lit up LTE here and I was about to sign up for a GS3, but didn’t like AT&T’s gouging for texting and I was hoping Amazon would repeat their penny sale around Black Friday, so I waited. In the interim, Google announced the Nexus 4 and I leapt for it. I’m using $45/mo. Straight Talk AT&T and the savings over Trudge’s service (with a work discount to boot) pays for the phone in one year; the savings over a contract with AT&T is nearly a grand.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Samson
        December 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm
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        I feel ya, but it was just at the right place at the right time. Before I moved, my address could not get highspeed internet. So basically I had to tether. ATT didn’t have 3g in my area, so I opted for sprint, which was a bit fasters then edge network speeds. I tethered to play on xbox live and I download quite a bit so unlimited was a must. I also receive a good discount with sprint.

        But I have since moved and don’t need it, since I have very good internet here. Once my contract is up I may hop on t mobile with a nexus device.

        Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        December 29, 2012 at 8:41 am
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        Dirk, your opening line was both beautifully written and extremely apt. Thank you.

        I’ve been considering StraighTalk or Net10 with a Nexus 4 as well. How do you like the service?

        Reply
  • Avatar of Barry Keller
    December 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm
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    Thinking of moving to T-Mobile and the S3. 11 years with Sprint has taught me that loyalty is for suckers.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jaymoon
    December 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm
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    Add me to the list of people jumping ship for T-Mobile.

    I want to like Sprint, I really do. But 2+ years of 4G tax, for what?… No 4G that’s what. Not even 3G speeds.

    Sprint has a single tower set up in my town of ~13,000. The speed has gradually gone DOWN in the past 5 years of my continued service with them.

    Meanwhile T-Mobile just moved in and set up 3 new towers that covers the entire valley, with 20mbps HSPA+.

    My once $30/mo SERO plan is now $70/mo plan, with 3G that is just barely faster than dial up. Time to pickup a Nexus 4 and a $50/mo prepaid plan for a data connection I can actually use.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      December 29, 2012 at 8:39 am
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      I’ve been strongly considering the same plan of action. Moving to T-Mobile or some MVNO and grabbing a Nexus 4.

      I’m going to wait until my upgrade is due with Sprint and see what’s available or coming shortly. Maybe the SGS4, or maybe I’ll hang on and wait for the Nexus 5, since I’d prefer 32GB of storage.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Mike Tyson
    December 28, 2012 at 7:17 pm
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    Does this allow you to leave sprint with no termination fee?

    Reply
  • Avatar of adam
    December 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm
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    i fed up with sprint.. this is stright BS.. csnt wait till me 2 years is up.. ill have 4 years all together.. im good

    Reply
  • Avatar of Scott
    December 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm
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    This is the last straw with Sprint. I’ve been a loyal Sprint user for over 15 years. A EVO user since day 1 of the 4G, 3D, and now LTE. My 4G on the 3D is off and on, not reliable. LTE with Sprint is a joke. I’m in Los Angeles, which I guess is a little unknow city in California, because there isn’t any timeline for LTE to be lit up here. My Evo LTE is months old…how sad that the long forgotten 3D (which Sprint never offered a Jelly Bean upgrade) is actually way faster then the technologically superior EVO LTE. Get a clue Sprint, you are driving business away. Your customer service reps seem to enjoy fighting with customers. What do we have to say for? I love the idea of tethering the phone to my laptop to stream HD video until they can’t take it anymore and release me from the ETF. Later Sprint…the first 10 years was great…the last 5 have been hell.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      December 29, 2012 at 8:35 am
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      Actually, we don’t definitely know for sure if Sprint will not deliver JB for the EVO 3D. HTC still has to mull the 2011 devices.

      My guess is, yeah, it won’t be updated. That we got ICS so late in the game is pretty telling.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        December 29, 2012 at 8:36 am
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        Put into perspective. My friend got the Samsung E4GT several months after I got my EVO 3D and he’s already rocking a leaked final build of Jelly Bean for it (he got ICS before me too).

        That sort of stuff really annoys me. Samsung is supporting their devices better these days, and it used to be HTC that held that title.

        Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont
    December 29, 2012 at 8:33 am
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    It’s actually suspended. There is a chance it might make a comeback.

    I never took advantage of it as I tend to ride out my contracts because I choose a phone I know I will like for the 2 year duration. I will admit, I DID upgrade several months early to get my EVO 3D, but that was back when they had the Sprint Premier plan going still.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      December 29, 2012 at 9:02 am
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      I’ll admit. I’m getting sick and tired of Sprint slowly removing all of the perks they used to have. It’s making them less desirable as a provider. Pretty soon, it’s just going to be based on price alone and T-Mobile beats them in their prepaid plans, pretty handily.

      I’ve been a Sprint customer for almost three years now (upgraded a year early to get my EVO 3D via Sprint Premier) and I’ve generally been happy with the service. I just…REALLY…wanted a Nexus 4.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Tim
    December 29, 2012 at 10:09 am
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    Here is the deal, if you have an original EVO on Wimax keep it but for us who have the EVO LTE with no network in sight like Vegas it sucks.Slow 3G ( because I used Wimax on the EVO and did not know how bad it was) so unlimited means nothing.And get ready for the last straw they have hinted that when they finish LTE deployment it looks like “unlimited ” will go away.That’s right as a reward for staying with them during all this mess they will take the last reason to stay with Sprint.Nexus if they ever get LTE or another unlocked phone is in my future.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont
      December 29, 2012 at 10:56 am
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      If Sprint drops the unlimited data, they will lose huge scores of customers, unless they do something to drop their prices dramatically. It’s really the only competitive reason a lot of people are staying with Sprint (along with the slightly lower pricing, though it keeps going up [4G tax]).

      In that case Verizon might be more expensive, but they offer much better speeds and coverage and a wider variety of phones and Sprint customers will vote with their wallet and go there or AT&T or T-Mobile. Heck, I’d jump ship too, probably to an MVNO or T-Mobile, in that instance.

      Reply
    • Avatar of Zachary Jacob Zblewski
      December 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm
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      Sprint has NEVER hinted that unlimited data would go away once LTE is commonplace. They’ve said they want to keep it. And think about it, they will have plenty of bandwidth and speed.

      Reply
  • Avatar of NelsonTitua
    December 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm
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    i was at a verizon store trying out the dna and saw that the 4g lte on the phone was off and it was running on the stores wifi so i switched it on and can honestly say that verizons lte in the bronx is REALLY F*CKING FAST! im hoping that sprint will get more coverage in ny soon. i only pay 80 bucks flat every month because of the discount i get so im not leaving any time soon..

    Reply
    • Avatar of Jorge
      December 31, 2012 at 9:31 am
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      I seriously doubt that sprint is ever going to catch up to Verizon. Verizon is at least 2-3 years ahead of sprint now. By the time sprint gets to the level of VZ, if that ever happens things are going to be much better for those that are on VZ. I was paying more than 200 for 3 lines w sprint. Switched all to vz and I’m gonna pay almost the same but far superior service. Sprint 3g I was getting 38kbps on bad days, with vz I get 38mbps. That’s a world of difference. on low coverage areas around Phoenix I still get 5-7mbps. For 80 bucks you could get tmobile with HSPA+ 42mb and get super fast 4G like speeds.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Simon Belmont
        January 2, 2013 at 7:10 am
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        Not to question your logic. You may have superior service, but you’ll still be capped on data.

        If you’re paying about the same as Sprint for three lines on Verizon, then you’re probably only sharing a bucket of a couple GB per month. I hope that is enough.

        Reply
  • Avatar of Dantuma
    December 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm
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    The program was costing them to much? Lets see…I pay $100 a month for barely connectable 3G service. My home wifi provided through my internet service costs me $30 a month and is light years faster than sprints network. So as I see it, sprint is taking me for a ride to the tune of about $70 each month…so at the end of every year they could just give me an upgrade and still make money off of me.

    Reply
  • Avatar of vperl
    December 31, 2012 at 9:01 am
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    Keep SPRINT for the wide coverage of 4G LTE

    Works great in the NW and most states west of the Mississippi . Coverage of LTE as expected by SPRINT .

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jason L. Cheung
    December 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm
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    “Keep SPRINT for the wide coverage of 4G LTE

    Works great in the NW and most states west of the Mississippi Coverage of LTE as expected by SPRINT”

    Still waiting for it in Seattle.

    Reply
  • Avatar of danindenver
    January 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm
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    No amount of promises will keep me with Sprint. It was a sometimes fun 2 year experiment while I learned how to use a smart phone, but:
    The EVO has had annoying problems all along, including corrupting my pictures.
    There is almost no 4G coverage and T-mobile users laugh about me having to turn on my 4G in order to connect.
    The 3G network drops out when I get close to home, and at a place where I need it to work (near the middle of my city! And no, there are no skyscrapers here in the ‘burbs).
    There has never been reliable phone coverage in my own home.
    Forget the unlimited data plan. I couldn’t use it even if I had coverage. I need reliability, not promises.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont
    January 2, 2013 at 7:12 am
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    I wish Sprint would deploy their LTE in my area. They deployed Wi-Max pretty fast here, but LTE deployment has been lagging.

    Wi-Max is fast here, so no LTE will be a let down when I upgrade. Hopefully my market is on the list to get it soon, so it can be ready when I upgrade.

    Reply
  • Avatar of K-man
    January 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm
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    If I wasn’t still living large on the $40 + $10 SERO plan, I’d have bailed on Sprint long ago. If they ever end that, you can count me among those jumping ship.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Scott
    January 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm
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    Just found out that the Upgrade program is back. Just got my wife a new phone with it, 3 months early..

    Reply
  • Avatar of patty
    January 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm
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    I’ve tried t mobile and for me in my area Sprint in faster data, Ive talked to at&t not nice and act as if they really don’t need you. I’ll stick it out with sprint. HTC EVO in the great north west

    Reply
  • Avatar of Lee
    January 17, 2013 at 9:25 am
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    The upgrade now program is back, I just upgraded yesterday 5 months early. You have to trade in your phone, so if you want to keep it, activate a different phone before you go in to upgrade.

    Reply
  • Avatar of confused
    June 7, 2013 at 3:26 am
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    I’m confused and frustrated :/ I had a prepaid service for two years after giving it much thought I decided to get a contract service. My choice Sprint. I started service in January 2012 and I really like my phone (HTC EVO 3d) don’t even mind paying the extra $20 a month from what I was used to paying. Now I’m eligible for upgrade in October. Went in and asked if I could upgrade early and got a flat “no sorry”. I went out of town and had no signal at all. Spoke to sprint and they just said they would look into it. Now my friend just let me know she has been with sprint for 4years and gets upgrades every six months!! Seriously!! Thinking of switching to Verizon!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Lil sol
    June 12, 2013 at 7:20 am
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    Sprint needs to make there 3 g better enforce they worry about 4g. The 3 g speeds are terrible now on sprint compared to other providers. Unlimited but on terrible speeds

    Reply

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