Sprint Giving Customers 30-Day Trials of Its Mobile Services

The new 30-day satisfaction guarantee will allow new customers to try Sprint and get their money back if they aren't happy with the service.

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Sprint has unveiled a new 30-day satisfaction guarantee for new customers who want to try Sprint's mobile services and network without the risk of having to waste a lot of money to switch carriers. If the new customer isn't satisfied with Sprint's offerings, the company will refund the cost of the Sprint device and service charges paid by the customer.

The new service guarantee was announced by Sprint on March 25 and will be available for a limited time to new customers and eligible small-business customers who activate a line of service with Sprint through a company-owned store, a "preferred retailer," online at Sprint.com or by calling 1-800-SPRINT1. The guarantee also is available to existing customers who add new lines of service.

It's certainly not the first time that a mobile carrier has offered a service guarantee, but the length of the 30-day guarantee is notable.

Since September 2015, T-Mobile has offered a "lifetime coverage guarantee" that gives a full refund for service and device costs within 30 days of signing up, according to T-Mobile. After the 30 days, if a customer wants to switch to another carrier T-Mobile will unlock their phone and let the customer use it with another carrier, though they will have to continue making payments for the device until it is paid off. T-Mobile previously offered one-week and two-week trial periods in the past, including a two-week trial period for Verizon customers in May 2015 as part of a limited-time "Never Settle … for Verizon" promotion, according to an earlier eWEEK story. That offer poked fun at Verizon's ad campaign that urged prospective customers to "never settle" for what the wireless carrier claimed were substandard mobile services offered by its rivals.

Sprint and T-Mobile have been tussling quarterly for some time for the No. 3 spot in the robust U.S. mobile market behind Verizon and AT&T. All four companies continuously promote their own services over those of rivals, offering customers hefty incentives at times to switch carriers, including half-price service deals, switching fee refunds and other benefits.

Sprint's latest guarantee offer is all about giving the company a chance to show off the improvements it has been making in its North American network for some time, according to Sprint.

"As I talk with wireless consumers across the country, they tell me over and over that a reliable network is the make-or-break factor in their buying decision," Marcelo Claure, Sprint's CEO, said in a statement. "Sprint's 30-day satisfaction guarantee is giving consumers the opportunity to try us out worry-free and experience everything Sprint has to offer—our award-winning, super-fast LTE Plus Network, the best price for unlimited plans, and so much more. No gimmicks, it's that simple."

New customers who come to Sprint from AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile are also eligible to take advantage of Sprint's 50 percent off deal, which cuts customer bills to one-half of what they were paying with their previous carrier, with some limitations. Sprint will also cover switching fees up to $650 per line for new customers.

Sprint has been working for some time to make its service stand out for its customers. In November 2015, the company added more cities to its fledgling Direct 2 You smartphone and tablet delivery service area, expanding the availability of the free delivery and phone training services for its customers across a larger swath of the United States. Sprint Direct 2 You services, which send out trained Sprint employees to deliver new smartphones and tablets to customers along with personal lessons on how to set them up and use them, were added in Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Las Vegas; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Salt Lake City. The delivery and training are provided at no extra charge.

The Direct 2 You worker also will transfer all content from a customer's old device, including contacts, pictures, games and apps, to the new device to make the equipment swap easier.

Sprint launched the initial Direct 2 You program in April 2015 in Kansas City and soon expanded to Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Los Angeles; Miami and Tampa, Fla.; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C., according to an earlier eWEEK story. In August 2015 the service was expanded to Atlanta, Boston, Houston and Philadelphia.

Sprint originally launched the service due to customer requests for such services. Existing and new customers can use the service for phone upgrades, new tablets and more as part of a plan to take the buying experience to the customer.