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Hey Verizon, Can You Hear Sprint Now?

Paul Marcarelli, who once appeared as the “test man” in Verizon commercials, has begun appearing in Sprint commercials to promote Sprint’s improved reliability and cost savings.

Marcarelli appeared in Verizon commercials from 2002-2011 and was often seen asking,” Can you hear me now?”

The first Sprint ad featuring Marcarelli appeared Sunday night on ABC during game two of the NBA Finals. The ads also will appear on cable and network stations nationwide and in print and digital channels. They will be followed with out-of-home and radio advertising.

See one of the ads:

The ads highlight what Sprint called its “vastly improved network” in the past two years and its cost savings. The carrier said it analyzed drive-test data obtained by Nielsen in the top 106 markets to find that Sprint’s average voice and data reliability exceeds T-Mobile’s and performs within 1 percent of AT&T and Verizon.

Nielsen drove more than 165,000 miles to conduct the tests in 106 major metro markets with a population of more than 200 million. Among other things, the tests measured the ability of a voice call or download to initially connect to the network and maintain the connection to the end.

The ads counsel consumers not to pay twice as much for a 1 percent difference and point to a promotion offering customers of Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T 50 percent off most of those carriers’ standard rate plans. Sprint also pays switching fees up to $650 per line.

 “We’ve made tremendous advancements in our network during the past year, and Sprint’s network reliability is now within 1 percent difference of Verizon,” said Sprint president/CEO Marcelo Claure. “We don’t expect our customers would even notice such an insignificant difference.”