Sprint CEO Dan Hesse Talks Tech With Rick Limpert

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse talks tech, customer satisfaction and sports with Rick Limpert

host Rick Limpert, of “The Tech of Sports’ had the rare opportunity to meet and have lunch with the 5th most powerful man in “Wireless” on Wednesday, and of course they talked some sports. Rick met with Dan Hesse, the CEO of Sprint and he had some exciting news for those in five cities that will get 4G LTE service on July 15, how Sprint has gone from worst to first when it comes to customer satisfaction and they even talked some Notre Dame football (Dan is an alum) and NASCAR.

Hesse is ranked by Fiercewireless.com as the fifth most powerful person in wireless and his leadership has started to turn things around for the once struggling wireless giant.

Hesse made no bones about who is benefiting from the changes at Sprint.“We’ve really focused on the customer experience,” stated Hesse. In fact, the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers and most improved in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, over the last four years. Hesse took the reigns at Sprint just over four years ago.Hesse was also proud to make an announcement about customer growth at Sprint.

“For seven straight quarters, more customers have switched to Sprint than from Sprint.”

He said that part of the reason for that is the $79.99 unlimited data plan offering that Sprint has been touting.

“Customers don’t like surprises,” Hesse added and he said they will continue to keep things simple at Sprint and at Boost and Virgin Mobile, which are sub-brands of Sprint.

The big announcement of the day were some details on Sprint’s new 4G LTE rollout.

The cities of Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio will get the full power of 4G LTE on July 15. It’s also good to know that more than the entire metro areas of these cities will get the upgrade. For example, in Metro Atlanta, cities like Rome and Athens are part of the rollout.

To better meet the growing voice and data demands of wireless customers, Sprint is building an all-new, nationwide 3G and 4G LTE network through the Network Vision program. This means that whether a Sprint customer is using a smartphone to share a picture or to check the Web, Sprint 4G LTE will make it faster. Coupling the speed of 4G LTE with the industry’s only truly unlimited data plan for smartphones makes Sprint the best choice in wireless.* Additionally, the new network provides significant enhancements to Sprint 3G service. Customers will experience better signal strength, fewer dropped/blocked calls, faster data speeds, expanded coverage and better overall performance as the improvements roll out across the country.

“The performance of both the 4G LTE and improved 3G networks are exceeding our expectations and we are pleased with the progress of the entire Network Vision program,” said Hesse.

Other topics Hesse hit on included the need for spectrum, and the fact that it takes 3-5 years to put new spectrum into service. He also admitted that there are going to be some Samsung Galaxy III shortages, at least initially and he assured customers that don’t have any intention of switching to a smartphone from a feature phone, that feature phones will be around well into the future.

The five 4G LTE-capable devices Sprint has released for less than $200 are as follows: HTC EVO 4G LTE ($199.99); LG Viper 4G LTE ($99.99); Samsung Galaxy Nexus ($199.99); Samsung Galaxy S III ($199.99 for 16BG version) and Sierra Wireless™ 4G LTE Tri-Fi Hotspot, the nation’s first to support 4G LTE, 4G WiMAX and 3G ($99.99) (all pricing excludes taxes).

As usual, Rick got some sports talk in with Dan, who predicted Notre Dame football will be improved in 2012, but they face a daunting schedule.  He would love to attend Notre Dame’s opener this year, which will be played in Dublin, Ireland, but work commitments may keep him stateside

Hesse also say he couldn’t be happier about Sprint’s relationship as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Cup Series.

He said they “upped” for another five years because the relationship has been beneficial for both parties and the exposure Sprint gets from the sport is priceless.