Sprint Cancels Soldiers' Cell Phones

Sprint's move to cancel problem accounts is wider than initially thought, and apparently also aimed at those who may roam too frequently. However, some are crying foul over these latest moves.

The struggling carrier was exposed last week for attempting to get rid of accounts that it claimed were calling its customer service lines too frequently. An undisclosed number of customers were told their service will be cancelled on July 30.

However, it now appears another group of people are being told their Sprint service will be dropped on that day -- those who frequently roam outside the company's own network. About 200 of these happen to be U.S. Army soldiers, according to a post to SprintUsers.com.

Fresh off of a deployment to Iraq, a unit was told they were going to be redeployed to West Point to assist in the training of cadets over the summer. About a third of those in the unit were Sprint customers.

According to Sprint's coverage map, the area was supposedly in an area of "best coverage." However, the soldiers found out that coverage at the school was marginal at best, and that they were roaming off the Sprint network.

"Many of us Sprint customers received a letter at the beginning of this month declaring that our Sprint account will be cancelled on July 30th due to the amount of roaming we are doing," user "Shafted_Sprint" wrote.

The soldier said at least 10 others were told that there was no problem with the roaming, and some were even sold new phones as recently as the day the letters were sent.

"I paid LESS to call home and keep in touch from the other side of the world than I do now with Sprint to call within the country" through a Middle Eastern carrier, he continued. The soldier said he planned to contact Congress as well as the media to discuss his plight.

Reaction from those learning of the news was obviously negative. "So, for setting this oh-so-nurturing customer service climate, why does SprintNextel CEO Gary Forsee still have a job?" Russell Shaw wrote for ZDNet.

Comments on SprintUsers.com were similar. "This kind of treatment is unacceptable!" forum user Internet2000 wrote. "This is the kind of story that people need to hear. Every person in the military is working to protect the freedoms of our country and the least Sprint could do is lay off a little bit."

Attempts by BetaNews to contact Sprint for comment for this story went unanswered as of press time.

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