SprintPCS Vision

March 20, 2005

One of the funniest moments at SXSW was when Ernie said, “I am so moblogging this!” Then and there I decided to learn how to do this newfangled moblogging thing all the kids are so jazzed up about. Dylan taught me how to use the camera on my Treo, John gently introduced me to the “Flickr magic email address”, and I read the Treo manual. It took a village, but I managed to upload a photo! Yay!

I have to admit that I still have a hard time understanding the whole Sprint system. What they call “SprintPCS Vision” seems to be what I’d call “wireless web”. There are different flavors of the Vision package, with different capabilities — I got the one that allows you to sync with Outlook (SprintPCS Vision Professional Pack), just in case I ever need to. But it took me a long time to figure out whether time you spend on the wireless web comes out of your phone minutes, and whether you have to deliberately close the Vision connection when you stop using Vision services, and what happens if you get a phone call while you’re browsing. It’s a different paradigm, and a remarkably badly-documented one.

Another thing that drives me batshit about SprintPCS is that apparently every one of their services is actually subcontracted to someone else… and that leads to this bizarre situation where you have to sign up for each service and each part of the website separately, and sometimes they have partial outages separately. Wouldn’t you think that by signing up for a package of services, you’d automatically be assigned a webmail address, a web space for pictures, and a business services account? All with the same username and password? The way they charge for things seems awfully strange in today’s environment too. Why would I pay $5/month to upload pictures when I already have a Flickr account, and I can upload to it via email for free? Why would I pay $5/month for unlimited SMS when I can IM for free? Why should I pay $15/month to sync with my office calendaring app when I already have a Yahoo calendar? Mobile is where the telco and web worlds collide, and it’s not a smooth transition yet.

4 Responses to “SprintPCS Vision”

  1. gse Says:

    I went through the same confusion when I got my first Treo. It turns out that all you need is a $15/mo Vision plan. I think I have “Vision Photo”. It gives unlimited SMS and unlimited data and Sprint’s silly photo sharing. And the unlimited data part means you can do whatever — sync with Outlook, use other mail clients, do AIM, etc etc.

    I don’t know why Sprint doesn’t just say “for $15 a month you’re on the internet, go crazy”.

  2. David Says:

    I love technology,
    But not as much as you, you see,
    But I still love technology —
    Always and forever.


  3. Alex Russell Says:

    Telcos are truly mysterious beasts. Once upon a time I wrote some apps for phones, and I got a really rude awakening when I started to look into how hard it would be to make apps available to actual end users, and the telcos just don’t “get” the whole interweb thing. The concept of phone as network endpoint scares the bejesus out of them, to the point where at SXSW I was very close to yelling at a PR dude from Verizon when in response to my query of “when are you just going to sell me bandwidth and get out of the way?” he said “those are our customers, we own them”.

    If AT&T was Ma Bell, the new telcos are just petulant children who feel entitled to whatever they can screw their customers for, and they own the spectrum.

    I have very little faith in the market to correct this one.

  4. Derek Says:

    While people keep buying ring-tones for $3 each, I don’t see the telco’s seeing the light. However as long as Sprint will give a few of us geeks-in-the-know bandwidth and let us do anything we want on our Treo’s, I’m happy. Now if only the 650 had a little more res, and I could do 80 columns in SSH without going to a 3×5 font.

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