How bad do we miss the old Alltel? Some of us didn't have them available in our market, but now their absence affects us all. Our recent article about Sprint generated a good quantity of reaction on and off the blog, mostly negative, about Sprint. It seems they are enforcing their roaming limits, much to the concern of customers who had only occasional usage off the Sprint network. The charges were considerable and customer service was unbending. The timing of these new headaches leads us to believe the loss of Alltel as a roaming partner is, or will be soon, a greater financial burden to Sprint. And Sprint's prez implies that's the case.
Speaking at a wireless conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse reported that Sprint is looking at CDMA options in the 800 MHz band, using the spectrum now occupied by Nextel. We give credit to RCR Wireless for reporting from the Goldman Sachs Communicopia XIX Conference in New York, where Hesse admitted that Sprint needs less in-market roaming and better building penetration, some of which was provided by roaming with Alltel.
We saw hard days coming for other CDMA carriers with the acquision of most of Alltel by Verizon Wireless, and Sprint is fortunate they have a way out of their predicament. It may be costly to add CDMA to all those iDEN sites, but wasn't that their plan in the first place? Now Sprint has the incentive to do it. The less Sprint depends on Verizon, the more we all benefit...as long as Sprint doesn't see that they can also get out of this jam by just selling out to Verizon. The thought makes us shudder.