Nextel purchase was the downturn...
I've had Sprint for 8 years and for most of the area's I work in coverage is really good. Only when I went down to Alabama for a one week consultation job did I find I had no service anywhere...
Customer service was decent and when I broke a phone I could go in the store and hand them the bad phone and walk out with a brand new one, no questions asked since I had Warranty service on my plan. If I missed a payment one month then I just had to make it up the next month no problem.
When Sprint bought Nextel and they merged, everything went into the crapper. They canned the Sprint customer support people and kept the Nextel Billing and Support people. Suddenly, over night even, you would get Nextel Customer Support who knew nothing of the Sprint network or system and not able to help you at all with anything. They also dumped their billing department and took to using the Nextel department. Tons of billing issues the first couple of months as they tried to merge the systems and no there is no leeway. If your payment isnt in by the due date, your phone is turned off at 7am that day. Yet takes forever to get them to turn it back on even if you pay by credit card. Forget trying to get it turned back on at a store, takes upwards of 2 days that way.
You break a phone now, going to the store they hand you an envelope and you have to mail your phone in and wait for a refurbished phone thats usually still screwed up. A couple had worn out power outlets so the cables just rolled around and you never really got a good charge on them. But you are still out a phone for a week while you wait for them to receive your phone and send you a replacement. But you still pay for your service even though you dont have a phone.
And they discovered that they can not make the Nextel and Sprint phones work on the same network so they will eternally be running two different networks. Thats got to drive costs up needlessly.
Its a work phone so I am stuck with it. I use to like Sprint, but now loathe them after the Nextel merger.