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*Updated* Sprint Nexus 5 activation is an exercise in patience.

Easily the worst of the four major carriers if not THE worst of all the carriers in the USA.
As someone who is a gadget guru, I have had the opportunity to use three out of the four major carriers in the USA over the last decade and a half. I originally began my cellular service with T-mobile, then switched to AT&T, and am currently with Sprint. I was happy with their service years ago but over the years Sprint has raised their prices but their service has worsened.  To their credit, Sprint has somewhat acknowledged the issue and has been working on rebuilding their slow as molasses 3G network to an LTE network that will focus more on dependability more than speed.  To be honest, their "Network vision" has not been impressive at this point in time.  Read on for more detail.

Unlocked Sprint compatible Nexus 5

Recently I was gifted the Sprint compatible 32gb Google Nexus 5 purchased directly from the Google play store. After attempting to activate it on the website, I received the message "Enter your SIM card serial number (ICCID)" which I did not have as the phone did not ship with a SIM card.  Thinking to myself that it should not be a major problem, I went and called some of my local Sprint stores.  Eight of them to be exact.  Some were corporate stores while some were third party.  None of the stores had SIM cards despite the Nexus 5 being on sale for over a month now.  The best answer that I could get was "We can order it for you, but it will take a while because we're back ordered" which I had no choice to accept.  Luckily, my Galaxy Note 2 works perfectly well, but what if someone NEEDS to activate their new Nexus right away either because they lost their old phone or simply wants to switch over from a different carrier?  In both cases, Sprint could lose more subscribers than the 360,000 that they have already lost in the last quarter.

Two days later and still no update for a SIM card.  Ridiculous.

Not only did I call 8 stores, I have also called their useless customer service number multiple times and was transferred around (sometimes without being told) their departments, and received different answers by every rep that I've spoken to.  Their Facebook page is just as useless for support with reps giving by-the-numbers answers that are read from a script.  The best support in my opinion came from their online chat.  That department was able to order a SIM card but without any type of date as to when it would actually ship.  Yes, I have an order number and yet no date as to when or if they will have the needed product any time soon for something smaller than a dime and made out of plastic.

Some of my many calls to Sprint trying to get my SIM card issue resolved. Fail.

If I purchased service from any other Nexus 5 supported carrier such as  AT&T, T-mobile, MetroPCS, Straight talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, etc, then I could simply walk into any of their stores or affiliates and have received a SIM card on the spot, trouble free. Meanwhile, Sprint allows an unlocked phone onto its network and they cannot support it appropriately requiring for customers to jump through hoops to simply get their phones operating on the network that they give money to month after month.

Behold the amazing LTE speed with Sprint 
Currently, I live in NYC which has live LTE support in some of the boroughs according to Sprint.  I'm also a frequent traveller into the city as well as upstate but mostly reside in the Bronx which is one of the first areas that had LTE rolled out.  When it was first rolling out the LTE speed was wonderful.  This was December of last year (2012) and now a year later the LTE in the same area is spotty at best and slow.   Voice quality on my calls has dropped significantly and this is with an "HD voice" enabled Galaxy Note 2 on the latest 4.3 update.  If you look up any Sprint forums online whether on their own website or on many of the social media sites, you will see thousands of complaints from angry customers and their service issues that are usually answered by generic messages from their online staff.  I don't understand how a company can operate on promises of better service coming and yet not discount the terrible service that it currently gives out to its subscribers.  To add to an already ridiculous situation, Sprint is now promoting its "Spark" service which is supposed to be an upgrade to the LTE that isn't even yet fully rolled out in the cities where it has been announced.  Confused or annoyed yet?  Join the millions.
The screen that asks for your SIM when you attempt to activate to your Nexus.

At this time, I am weighing my options and will most likely jump ship and pay what is left of my early termination fee. For those of you thinking about joining Sprint, I would advise you to go to another carrier unless you really have no other choice.  Take your money to a GSM carrier without proprietary phones that will actually deliver the service you pay for now (and not with  promises of fast service later at full price now) and allows you to use any SIM card phone hassle free.

Support forums: Sprint Nexus 5

*Update*  After this article was published, I emailed a group of Sprint customer service VP's with my experience and a link to this article.  The email went out early on a Sunday afternoon and I received two replies within the hour.  One of the VP's contacted me through his personal cell (on a SUNDAY afternoon) and after a brief conversation, my SIM card was overnighted to me the following morning.  Upon receiving the card, I called Sprint and had the phone activated.  While it is ridiculous that someone at such a high level within the company had to resolve such a trivial task, I commend the customer service VP's for their quick resolution of my issue.  


  1. I was a Sprint subscriber for 11 years and i left them for T-Mobile this year and it was the best decision i ever made!! Not only am i getting superior service but im paying $30 less!!

    1. Sadly Sprint and TMO are in merger talks. I'm a TMO customer and have been for years, I pray that doesn't go through

  2. Sadly, I feel like I will be right behind you on jumping ship. I just sent an email to one of their VP accounts but am not expecting much to come out of it. I remember that you used to be pretty gung-ho for Sprint a while back. It's sad that they are not meeting expectations and letting customers go so nonchalantly.


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