So what does a 1% difference really mean?

Sprint has been advertising lately that their network reliability is within 1% of Verizon’s, and if you’re not a numbers person or bother to read the fine print too closely that probably sounds amazing.

Oddly I’m not attacking Sprint here, although I will attack their marketing. I know I’m late to the game, but the Olympics season has shoved their ads in my face a bit too much lately.

Let’s take the US’s emergency services as an example of something we’re calling. 911 emergency services receives 240 million calls a year. In many areas more than 70% of these are wireless calls. Let’s try and be fair and say 50% of all calls in the US to emergency services are made via mobile. So 120 million mobile calls to 911.

Sprint claims “within 1% network reliability,” so let’s say they’re 99.5% as reliable, meaning 119,400,000 calls made it through.

Were those 600,000 calls that didn’t manage to make it or stay connected (half of one percent,) not important? Were Sprint’s babies on fire able to wait for a better connection or call back later?

It should be noted I presented the 1% fallacy in a false construct as I don’t believe that emergency services calls are going to be hampered by carrier failings (pretty sure any carrier’s tower handles emergency services calls per E911,) but it’s there.

Having dealt with an ISP that promised 99.9% uptime and then being down for into two business days a year (9.12 hours) I realized that we were promised 99.9% of perfection, and Sprint’s only advertising 99% of their competitor’s abilities, so even if Verizon were perfect you’re looking at about four days a year in missing service. Verizon isn’t perfect.

That said, for once no hate on Sprint, just their advertising is expecting you not to math much. They might have just as well said “there will be two to four days more of lack of service per year than our competitor, but you’ll save some arbitrary amount!”

But that wouldn’t sell new phone contracts as well as spending millions they could be putting into network upgrades into advertising.

“Network reliability claim based on a third party drive test.” – no mention of areas tested. I am surprised they didn’t put a tower in Wyoming, drive around it a few times, see no Verizon signal and then claim Sprint crushes the competition in 100% of the areas surveyed.

/end grumpy rant

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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