Overland Park, Kan. – Sprint will roll out a fleet of 5,000 vehicles by year’s end to deliver and set up phone upgrades, transfer content, and personalize settings at a customer’s home, office, or other location, including coffee shops, the carrier announced.
Sprint experts will also perform an on-site tutorial and offer tips to familiarize customers with the new device.
The service is free to eligible upgrade customers who receive an offer from Sprint.
The first of the Sprint Direct 2 You fleet leaves the garage today in Kansas City, followed April 20 by vehicles in Chicago and Miami, with a nationwide expansion to major markets planned by the end of the year.
“With our new Sprint Direct 2 You fleet of cars, it’s as if we are adding 5,000 additional stores,”
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said.
The program launches after the company raised its company-store profile with the addition of 1,435 co-branded Sprint/RadioShack stores.
The “mobile stores” will be continuously on the move, Claure said. “Time is the most precious asset for current and future Sprint customers who find it inconvenient to visit a store. Others have shared that they are reluctant to order online and receive a new device at home because it is challenging to start using it without help. It’s not easy to transfer the contacts, pictures, videos, apps and other content from an old device to a new one,” Claure said of the program. “Setting up a new phone and learning how to use new features also can be difficult, and these functions are usually performed in a store.”
Said Sprint VP Rod Millar, “The Sprint experts are particularly skilled in helping customers make the switch from a phone using the Android operating system to one running on Apple’s iOS, or vice versa.”
The program works like this: Qualified customers receive an offer via text or email to upgrade their phone. The customer then calls the Sprint phone number in the text or email to take advantage of the offer and schedule an appointment. A Sprint employee arrives at a location and time requested by the customer, sets up and activates the new phone, transfers all contacts and data from the old phone, and personalizes the new device to the customer’s specifications. The customer can opt to turn in the old phone for recycling or reuse.
Millar said Claure was inspired to launch the program after a television service technician went to his house to install new equipment and help set it up the way his family wanted.
“People are living their lives on their smartphones and other mobile devices,” said Millar. But “many of us are so busy, though, that it’s often hard to find the time to stop by a store when we need a new device. “
The announcement follows last week’s launch of an International Value Roaming program in which subscribers traveling to more than 200 countries can use Wi-Fi hot spots to send and receive calls to and from the U.S. for free The phone must have GSM and LTE capability as well as Wi-Fi calling capability. Customers also get unlimited texts plus data roaming at up to 2G speeds for free. Customers can also call anywhere else in the world from these countries for 20 cents per minute. Customers wanting higher data speeds can choose from three of Sprint International Speed Data Roaming options offering 3G speeds for one-day, seven-day and 14-day passes starting at just $15.