Like dominoes, Sprint's consumer-friendly policies continue to fall one at a time. Citing "high costs," the Now Network will begin discontinuing its practice of allowing customers to upgrade their phone 10-14 days prior to the official date of eligibility. According to the memo leaked by TechnoBuffalo, the program will cease to exist as of June 1st. It sounds like this policy change is an unfortunate consequence of the company's large investments in iPhones and its still-dormant LTE network. It may not be enough to convince many Sprint customers to jump ship, but this isn't the first cost-cutting measure put forth by Dan Hesse's team -- and we have a hard time believing it will be the last. We've reached out to Sprint for official comment and will update you as soon as we have word.
Update: Sprint sent us a statement about the matter, which you can read below. Apparently, no actual changes to the policy are taking place -- rather, a "reason code" used by customer care representatives to justify early upgrades was removed.
Here's Sprint's statement on the policy:
We are not making any policy change regarding our phone upgrades. In fact, the 14-day upgrade window was never a program or a policy to our customers - so there is nothing to cancel. We are removing a 'reason code' that made it possible for care reps to sometimes offer an early upgrade - but that code in the system was redundant with the early upgrade benefit we already offer customers.
The reality is we already provide customers an early upgrade benefit when they sign up for service by rolling their upgrade eligibility back to the first day of the month. So, if you purchase a phone on the 31st of the month - your upgrade eligibility is rolled to the first of the month (after 20 months). So, that is a 30 day early upgrade advantage. If you bought your phone on the 18th of the month - you would have an 18 day early upgrade advantage, etc.
And, if customers have an issue with an inoperable or broken phone before the upgrade date, there are several options they can check into - depending on if they have insurance, they can work with our Service & Repair, or they can buy a refurbished phone, or, in some cases, we can buy back the customer's phone.