Sprint begins ‘talking points’ campaign against Apple iPhone; expects initial customer loss up to 6%

Sprint has begun an internal campaign against Apple iPhone and A&T that consists of a series of employee aids designed to help Sprint employees counteract customers who, according to our sources, already canceling their service contracts with Sprint in order to prepare for Apple’s iPhone.

According to our sources, certain Sprint employees are being told to expect an initial drop of up to 6% of their current “smart phone” customer base (Treos/Blackberrys/etc.) as a result of a successful iPhone launch. Extrapolate this to the other carriers and you can clearly see how Apple iPhone has the potential to rock the entire industry.

The following is taken directly out of the Sprint document:

iPhone Talking Points Guide for Sales and Customer Care

Sales and Customer Care may use this reference guide to learn:
• Details about the iPhone
• Ways to favorably position Sprint to our customers
• Sample talking points

Marketing may use this as background material for other sales and marketing deliverables.

• Refer to the categories listed below for specific talking points.
• Always make it a point to understand the customer’s interest in a conversation about iPhone in the context of his / her account profile and specific business or personal need.
• Retail sales should use Maximize or sView to understand the customer’s current profile in order to fully understand the customer’s needs.
• The Sprint network is a significant differentiator especially when discussing iPhone features and functions.
• Always refer to network talking points at s.n.c >coverage>network information and updates>customer information during conversations with customers about the iPhone.

Sample Talking Points – iPhone:
• Apple positions the iPhone as a multi-functional device with these features:
• Phone with unique visual voicemail allowing users to scroll through voicemail similar to viewing email
• Camera (1.3 mega pixel)

MacDailyNews Note: Apple iPhone features a 2.0 megapixel camera.

• MP3 player (4G or 8G)
• Mobile Internet tool delivering desk-top like visuals
• Photo organizer
• The iPhone is only available through AT&T (Cingular)
• Operates on their Quadband GSM, EDGE network
• Sells for $499 or $599

Potential iPhone negatives:
• Most current Smartphones have secure email necessary for business functionality. The iPhone uses Yahoo and Mac email which is not secure.
• It does not have a keyboard. Users may find the virtual keyboard difficult to use.
• It has a non-replaceable battery.
• It offers no external storage.
• It operates on AT&T’s EDGE network, which is slower than Sprint’s Mobile Broadband network.

Sample Talking Points – Network Speed:
• Network speed is the main point of differentiation between the iPhone and any product Sprint sells.
• The iPhone only operates on the GSM, EDGE networks and therefore users will experience slower downloads than they would with smartphones that run on the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple iPhone features Wi-Fi (802.11b/g).

• Sprint Mobile Broadband coverage is competitive with any other carrier.
• Reaches more than 208 million people across the country.
• Covers more than 11,000 cities and 1,000 airports.
• Sprint is the leading wireless provider to businesses.
• Mobile broadband service in 220 major markets and more than 870 airports coast-to-coast.
• “Great device, but slow downloads.”
• “Using the iPhone on the GSM/EDGE network may be like having a really powerful computer on dial up.”
• “Whether you want music, email, web surfing or business files, our phones will download everything faster.”
• “No matter what feature you are interested in – our network provides speedy downloads.”
• “Concerned about coverage? I think you’ll see that we are comparable or better than all other carriers. Let me show you the map on our Power Network Coverage Tool to verify your coverage area.”

Sample Talking Points – Music:
• Sprint offers a variety of phones that are also MP3 players:
• Upstage
• Fusic
• Fusic II
• MotoQ
• Blackberry 8830
• “We have many handsets that are MP3 players.”
• “You want to have music with your phone? Let me show you the new Upstage or the Fusic II.”
• “We also have PDA phones that are MP3 players if you want to combine lots of features.”
• “With Sprint, you can download music instantly without being tethered to a computer.”
• “With Sprint you can quickly download music or anything else you want.”
• “Any music phone from Sprint lets you download songs instantly – out of thin air.”

Sample Talking Points – International:
• Sprint offers several phones with international capabilities.
• Show them the IP-830W by Samsung.
• Blackberry 8830 works on CDMA/EVDO and GSM/GPRS
• “Let me show you the IP-830. It’s an international phone and Smartphone with many of the features of the iPhone.”
• “The iP-830 is a slider-style phone which people tend to prefer over the iPhone style.”
• “Plus with Sprint, you get speedy, untethered downloads. You don’t have to be wired to a computer.”

Sample Talking Points – Storage:
• Sprint offers a variety of phones with external mini-drives for unlimited storage:
• Upstage
• Fusic II
• Motorazer
• MotoQ
• Blackberry 8830
• (Or other products as appropriate.)
• “If storage is an issue for you, let me show you all the devices that have external mini-drives for unlimited storage.”
• “Did you know that many of our phones offer external storage? Unlike the iPhone, which is only available in 4G or 8G, our phones offer unlimited storage.”
• “Are you sure 4G or 8G is enough storage for you? To give you a comparison, most iPods/MP3 players hold 40 to 60Gigs or more.”
• “The Upstage takes external mini-disks for unlimited storage.”
• “Our full line of PDA phones also offers unlimited, external storage.”
• “And remember, whatever you download and want to store, you can do it instantly with Sprint.”

Sample Talking Points – Price:
• The iPhone will sell for $499 or $599
• Given this price range, many Sprint phones will appear to be a great value, especially since they offer similar features over a faster network.
• If someone is interested in the iPhone, show them the PPC-6700 or the IP-830. Highlight all the features:
– Email
– International
– Camera
• External storage (iPhone doesn’t offer)
• “Sprint offers a wide variety of comparable phones that are much less expensive than the iPhone.”
• “Sure we have less expensive phones than the iPhone. The MotoQ, for example, is only $79 and is an MP3 player, PDA, camera, mobile internet device, and of course, a phone.”
• “With the MotoQ, you can use the money you save to pay for the monthly service.”

Sample Talking Points – Mobile Internet:
• Sprint has the largest mobile broadband network.
• With the Sprint mobile broadband card and a laptop, customers can experience desktop quality internet almost anywhere.
• The iPhone allows desk-top like surfing, but is on a slow network.
• Show customers other phones with internet capabilities such as MotoQ, PC 6700, etc.
• “If you want desktop-like mobile surfing, you should check out our broadband card.”
• “With the broadband card and a laptop, you can be online just about anywhere, anytime.”

Sample Talking Points – New Technology:
• Industry analysts and publishers agree that Sprint leads the industry in technology and innovation.
• Wall Street Journal, IDC, Yankee Group
• Sprint is already building out the 4G network which will be four times faster than today’s network technology.
• “Have you seen the Upstage? It’s a two-sided phone.”
• “The iPhone is an Apple product and has some nice features. It also has a nice price. Do you really need all those features in one device?”
• “Sprint has a variety of innovative phones.”
• “Sprint is a proven leader of technical advances and you can count on us to bring innovative services.”
• “Our Sprint Mobile Broadband Network, for example, provides downloads five times faster than AT&T’s EDGE.”
• “We are leaders in the 3G, EVDO network and plans are underway to build out the 4G network.”
• “We will lead in the Wi-MAX deployment.”

View the PDF (124 KB) here.
You can almost hear the sweat dripping off Sprint executives’ brows.

92 Comments

  1. “Let’s follow this logic thru, Sprint wants me to carry a digital camera, an mp3 player AND one of their phones?”

    “Do you really need all those features in one device?”

    “Sure we have less expensive phones than the iPhone. The MotoQ, for example, is only $79 and is an MP3 player, PDA, camera, mobile internet device, and of course, a phone.”

    “With Sprint, you can download music instantly without being tethered to a computer.”

    “With the broadband card and a laptop, you can be online just about anywhere, anytime.”

    “Plus with Sprint, you get speedy, untethered downloads. You don’t have to be wired to a computer.”

    ========================

    I’m very, very confused.

  2. “The iPhone is an Apple product and has some nice features. It also has a nice price.”

    So, what if it’s an Apple Product? I don’t understand what they are pointing out in that first part. Seems as though they are saying since its Apple then you should stay away.

    “Do you really need all those features in one device?”

    Now that is desperate, we can’t compare to the iPhone, take something cheaper we have, but it only sends sms via web and it, well turns itself all the time, but it’s cheaper.

  3. I give hackers one week and the iPhone will be cracked to run on anybody’s GSM network, just like normal phones can have their carrier exclusiveness removed. Linux will be on it in three weeks. A bluetooth micro-keyboard will take one month. Since it is OS X, the unauthorised hacks will be enormous – TV remote controls, widgets, games, Java, Flash, divX, missing link, VoIP, VPN, printing, etc.

  4. Heard at Sprint HQ:

    “Ah, Jones, we need you to put together a ten minute iPhone rebuttal for senior management. Make it hard-hitting, but leave the technical bullshit out.”

    “Ah…”

    “Remember, ten minutes. Just twenty good PowerPoint slides.”

    Later….

    “Jones, that rebuttal ready?”

    “Oh, it was ready right away. Might not be ten minutes, though.”

    “How many slides you got?”

    “One. Here, have a look.”

    Shows a single slide that says “We’re toast.”

    “Jones, are you familiar with the Cobra program?”

  5. “With a broadband card and a laptop, you can be online just about anywhere, anytime.” “What if I can’t afford to carry a device as large as my laptop around?”

    “With Sprint, you can download music instantly without being tethered to a computer.” “So I assume this music is DRM-free?”

    “Using the iPhone on the GSM/EDGE network may be like having a really powerful computer on dial-up.” “So what if I use it on a Wi-Fi network, faster than any mobile service out there? Can I use your phone on those too? Or do I have to pay for all the data transfer?”

    These “talking points” seem geared towards uninformed customers. (Accidentally or not, they’re blatantly understating the iPhone’s capabilities.)

  6. The same way The Steve rocked the sedate, crappy music industry with iPod, the cell industry will be shook up by iPhone.

    Now that Apple will be holding the handle in the cell industry too, and the carriers the blade. My suggestion to Sprint, T-Mobile, ATT, blah, blah, blah: Take your time with your hand on the blade!

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  7. Very entertaining.

    I agree with the complaints about EDGE (I’ll wait for an iPhone with HSDPA).

    I liked the bit about “external storage.” I sort of agree–the 3.5GB iPhone (after OS X) is gonna be pushed pretty hard, IMHO. I have a 4GB iPod nano which has about 2.5GB of music and address book stuff. I haven’t dared put photos on it because I’d probably fill it up.

    So if you want to bring some movies and music on your vacation, you’d best not figure you’re going to be taking a batch of snapshots with your iPhone.

    …or you’d better buy the 8GB.

  8. I agree that Sprint’s talking points do seem desperate, HOWEVER they are trying to protect their business from going under just like apple had to do in the ’90’s. They are simply trying to stay competitive, and I never saw anything in those points that was untrue. Yes Sprint does have phones with similar functions and Sprint DOES have a better broadband system. Pointing out a negative aspect of a competing product does not qualify them as losers. Before everyone rejoices at the impending doom of sprint simply for trying to persuade people to use their products think of this: They are a business just like Apple trying to protect their investment and make a profit. In all honesty, the iPhone is a way to make huge sums of money for Apple, they didn’t make it for some altruistic reason because the world needed this product. They made it to stay competitive. so don’t be grudge sprint the same thing.

  9. “Most current Smartphones have secure email necessary for business functionality. The iPhone uses Yahoo and Mac email which is not secure.”

    Yeah, right.

    IOW, iPhone can use industry-standard IMAP mail. What Sprint has syncs with Outlook and talks to Microsoft’s Exchange. You can tell people that Microsoft’s proprietary crap — Outlook/Exchange — is “secure”, but it’s the reverse of the truth. Jeez, the most damaging worm EVER — it caused an estimated $5.5 billion in damage — leveraged the insecurities in Microsoft’s phenomenally insecure email systems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILOVEYOU

    Open standards are insecure and Microsoft’s crap is secure, says Sprint! Do you really think people are going to believe such lies, Sprint? If open standards are “insecure” we’d all best get off the Internet — the whole freakin’ thing is built on open standards.

    It’s why it actually works.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.