The story began on the launch day of Instinct. We asked Sprint pre-launch if some plans, such as SERO, would be permitted to activate on Instinct. The only answer that we received officially was that “store employees would be trained on this”.
However, on launch day, customers with any SERO plan could purchase and activate an Instinct. As it turns out, only the $99 SERO Unlimited plan was supposed to be used with Instinct.
Sprint has decided to contact each Instinct owner with a SERO plan and give them a choice: Either change plans, or return the Instinct. Sprint’s about-face has given Instinct similar black eyes that Apple’s iPhone suffered with activation issues. Both devices have special plan limitations aimed at boosting carrier revenue, and forcing customers off of less-expensive plans.
Probably the worst thing that Sprint has done about this situation, is refused to talk about it. Sprint has refused to respond multiple inquiries from PhoneNews.com in regards to this debacle. Customers are receiving inconsistent information. It is important to note that SERO plan holders are typically the most informed and savvy Sprint customers, ones that are the most informed about smartphones and the competition (such as iPhone).
PhoneNews.com has independently verified the situation with a retail Instinct and a standard SERO plan. In addition, members of our forums have confirmed the internal errors which led to this situation.
Update: Sprint has responded to our coverage, which we have outlined in this article.