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In another move to shake the stigma of having poor customer service, Sprint is debuting a rewards program that offers early upgrades, discounts, and access to new handsets.
Palm Pre smartphone (click for larger image)
Sprint is launching a program that will reward its loyal customers with discounts, early upgrades, and first access to new devices like the Palm Pre.
It's not that difficult to become eligible for the Sprint Premier program, as a customer needs to have an individual plan for three consecutive months of at least $69.99 per month, or spend at least $99.99 on a monthly shared plan. If you've been a Sprint customer for 10 years or more with any voice line, you also apply.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of this rewards program is the ability to get early upgrades. Users can buy a new handset at the heavily subsidized price after one year, which is a year sooner than most of Sprint's rivals. This does come with a catch, though, as users will have to sign a new two-year agreement to get the discounted upgrade price.
The program may also appeal to the gadget fan who wants the latest technology, as Premier gives customers a first look at new products and services. This could come into play with the upcoming release of the Palm Pre smartphone, as Premier members will be among the first to get the opportunity to buy it.
The rewards program also gives once-a-year discounts on certain accessories, free minutes or ring tones on the anniversary of signing with Sprint, as well as spontaneous special offers for trips and tickets to shows and sporting events.
"We know that loyal customers are the most important ones to our business and we want to reward them for their choice in Sprint," said Jeff Hallock, VP for base management, in a statement. "Sprint Premier is our way of saying, 'Thanks, we appreciate your loyalty and here's something special for staying with us.' "
The Premier program is Sprint's latest move to stop customers from fleeing to rivals like AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The carrier has implemented programs that set up a customer's phone and that enable customers to change plans without additional fees.
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