Sprint Nextel Corp. is facing complaints about the speed of its network from customers who have purchased the iPhone 4S this month.
At least some Sprint subscribers are feeling buyer’s remorse, expressing their frustration over data speeds on the iPhone 4S, although the carrier contends performance on its network is meeting its expectations.
“Sprint also did bench-marking of Sprint’s iPhone against competitor’s iPhones and the testing showed little to no performance difference," the nation’s third-largest wireless operator said in a statement. “We are seeing a very low return rate for this device but we are watching the reports of speed issues very closely."
A number of customers are venting over speeds. One Sprint Community forum that is dedicated to the issue – dubbed “iPhone 4S on 3G data network too slow to be useful" – reflects customers’ frustrations since purchasing the iPhone 4S from Sprint earlier this month.
“I’m a new Sprint customer and I am extreamly [sic] disappointed in the data speed," wrote one person Tuesday under the name Mistublq on page 63 of the 65-page thread. “Sprint can dance around the issue and claim they do not see a problem but let me be very clear, Sprint your data speed is not close to that of AT&T [sic] nor Verizions [sic], it is hideous to say the least."
One iPhone 4S user in Gainesville, Fla. wrote Tuesday, “Although I seem to be able to listen to streaming internet radio okay, anything else beyond text email is almost impossible."
Another person, wmontgomery123, declared he couldn’t load the mapping functions on the iPhone 4S.
The comments on the forum weren’t all negative. A Sprint customer under the name lexart reported improved speeds just outside Boston: “Last week the speeds were mostly in ~200kbps DL but most of my tests today are solidly in ~800kbps range," lexart wrote Monday.
An article from The Next Web blog indicates that an email has been sent to Sprint reps, advising them that Apple and Sprint are working together to address the slow data rates customers are experiencing.
A spokesperson for Sprint said she had not seen the email but was researching the issue. In its statement, the carrier acknowledged “opportunities to optimize performance, specifically in high network capacity areas."
“We see this as typical optimization work and do not have any specific area of concern," Sprint explained. “Sprint is committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers. We are listening to our customers and working closely with our partners at Apple to ensure optimal performance of iPhone devices on our network."
Notwithstanding complaints, many customers have expressed satisfaction with Apple’s gadget on Sprint’s network: “Words cannot express how pleased I am with this device," one reviewer (NateZP) wrote on a Sprint website where you can order the iPhone 4S. “I traded in my HTC Evo and the first thing I noticed was NO Drop off in speed. I read forums about Sprint Customers complaining about slow download speeds but I have not had that issue."
On the Sprint Community forum referenced above, one iPhone 4S user in Walnut Creek, Calif., expressed that he or she was “Very impressed" with the download and upload speeds. But another iPhone 4S user wrote that speeds in SF, presumably San Francisco, were “Pathetic."