Getting rid of the Direct Connect name was a bad idea. Calling Sprint’s new QChat technology by the same name is even worse. Read more to hear the case for why Sprint should tack a 3G at the end of the new Direct Connect.
If there’s one thing Sprint Nextel shouldn’t have gotten wrong, it was confusing consumers. Everyone agrees with that point, and it has cost Sprint dearly. But, how is someone going to tell the difference between an iDEN phone with Direct Connect, and a CDMA phone with Direct Connect?
Well, the official answer would be, that they should be identical. But, that’s a bad thing for both marketing, and for consumer relations.
Think about this. If someone wants to upgrade to a new QChat phone, they’re going to have to change from an iDEN plan to a CDMA plan. Keep in mind, 99.9% of the population does not know iDEN from CDMA. These are not acronyms that are in their lexicon. Being told that they have to change plans just to keep using the same Direct Connect, is frustrating. Frustration, leads to number ports… away from Sprint.
But, wait, it gets worse. “That old service is useless now.” That’s what Verizon is saying about Direct Connect, in nationwide advertising campaigns. And, thanks to Sprint’s horrible naming scheme… there’s no way for Sprint to differentiate between an iDEN phone, and a QChat phone on CDMA.
My advice to Sprint is rather simple: Brand QChat as Direct Connect 3G. First, it’s simple, and to the point. QChat is a 3G technology, iDEN is a 2G technology. Second, it adds instant name recognition… people are finally (five years after we started talking about it) embracing 3G… yes, even regular consumers.
And, more importantly, it adds consumer saliency. When you upgrade from an iDEN phone, you’re actually getting something in return. You’re getting a new Direct Connect. All Sprint has to do, is re-inforce that Direct Connect, and Direct Connect 3G, are completely compatible with one-another. And, that too adds value in and of itself. It tells Nextel customers that there is a future path… again, other than porting to another carrier.
Will Sprint take it up? Well, they have a good track record of listening to me, so I hope this will continue that. After all, unlike other carriers… I like Sprint because they actually do listen.