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.
32 responses to “Editorial: The Case for Re-naming QChat as Direct Connect 3G”
I like it. I instantly understand what it is. QChat. What the crap is that? And how about all of my Direct Connect lines?
Before any real accounts and business customers start migrating to “Direct Connect 3G” Sprint needs to get their affairs in order, and roll out rev. A nationwide. There are still large cities that not only arent rev. A, but are 1x!! They have a long way to go, and I think a name change is at the bottom of the list.
Sprint doesn’t market QChat. The only people who know what QChat is are tech enthusiasts. Go to Sprint.com, a Sprint Store, or look at anything consumer related and you would see that Sprint markets QChat as either “Nextel Direct Connect” or “Nextel Direct Connect on Sprint.”
Vic, we never said that QChat is being marketed using that name. We refer to the technology by its original name to help distinguish that CDMA Direct Connect should be re-named to Direct Connect 3G.
It would be very confusing for us to say “rename Direct Connect to Direct Connect 3G” unless we clarified which variant of Direct Connect we were referring to.
You are, however, making the case for us. Without dragging the term QChat into the discussion, it is impossible to really have even a basic discussion about the two Direct Connect platforms (on iDEN and CDMA). If Sprint does roll out the marketing of Direct Connect 3G, I wouldn’t have to utter the words QChat again.
It doesn’t matter WHAT you call it. Yes I’ve seen the “that old service is useless now” and I can’t really tell you what exactly Verizon’s walkie-talkie service is called. Hell, I SELL Verizon service and couldn’t tell you what they call it. From years of selling Sprint service, I’d say if you REALLY want some name recognition, they’d call it “The New Chirp” or something like that.
The fact is, 3G means about as much to the average consumer as EVDO or HSDPA. I get a lot of people asking me about the “3 gigabyte iPhone”. So basically, I think your opinion and knowledge as a phone junkie is clouding your judgment and I don’t think you REALLY know what the average consumer wants or needs out of their cell phone company.
Face it, Sprint isn’t struggling because they don’t market things well, although they don’t. (I’ve always felt that the worst thing they ever did was get rid of the “Sprint Guy”). The fact is, they currently have and for some time have had the worst customer service in the industry. If they fixed that, they could call Direct Connect whatever the hell they want.
I can’t really say i agree and i can’t really say you are making total sense out of all this. So because someone may have to change plans as a result of getting a direct connect phone on CDMA then they should name it direct connect 3G to make them feel better about it?
I don’t see that as a necessarily bad thing but I really don’t see that as doing a ton of good either. As posted above people have no idea what 3G even means. Let alone the construction worker who’s military grade phone just crapped out because he dropped a steel beam on it.
So basically Sprint should just do what ATT has done right? Brand the new iphone as “iphone 3G” and that will justify people having to sign up for a different plan?
Sure i guess.
you work for Verizon and you don’t even know what thier walkie talkie service is called…and why should your comments be taken seriously?
I agree that they should call it something different. Even if they iDen and CDMA direct connect work together, they should have different names.
Most iDen plans will work on CDMA DC phones. Even the old ones. I have changed people to the new phones that have had plans that I’ve never seen before, and they got to keep them. Now if they want to upgrade minutes.. to the new plans they go.
Thats a great idea!
That’s a new one for me. We got a Pro-700 (QChat) to add-a-line to our existing plan which had to PowerSource (Moto ic902) phones on it… the lady at the store didn’t say anything, just silently screwed our account to hell and back. We call in to fix it and get told that oh, that phone won’t work with your plan, and oh, we don’t have 2100 minute plans anymore. It’s either drop to like 1500 or go up to 3000 and end up paying $80/mn more than that we were paying, just to add one damn line of service!
Chris, from a propeller head prospective (which I am), you make a compelling case for:
1) you/I understand what 3G is
2) you/I know what qchat is and now it differs from iDEN
3) you/I believe that 3G may convey an added value above push to talk to the customer (music, video, etc)
The problem is with your logic, is that it only works for 5% of the iDEN PTT, market at best. My cousin does not know what 3G and frankly doesn’t care.
But they know what PTT and a cool, feature packed phone is. So, by renaming a familiar product to 3G throws an extra buying decision into whether to upgrade his ruggedized phone…By keeping the naming familiar, the product is familiar which adds comfortability. The rest is marketing MBA 101 history. 🙂
naw chris is right on this one… old direct connect, power source, and new direct connect is confusing as hell to even us… and to the guy who said sprint needs more rev. a sprint has more than vzw and at&t cant even compete…
I totaly agree. Sprint must do that as soon as possible.
Dustin.. that sucks. But yeah, there is a difference between an upgrade and an add-a-line. I can’t give you an old plan on an add-a-line, but if you are just trying to upgrade your iden phone to a CDMA I can do that.
The more pressing issue for Sprint is to make the “Direct Connect on Sprint” service experience identical or superior to that of iDEN. In practice (i.e., outside of YouTube test videos), it’s not, with qChat being far inferior. If they could match coverage and performance exactly, then it wouldn’t matter if they referred to both platforms as “Direct Connect,” with no distinction.
IMO, until they make qChat into something worth using, they shouldn’t market it, period.
This is a who cares issue, the only thing bad about the new DC is the plan change
I agree with a few others who have pointed out that the average customer has no idea what 3G means.
The reason Apple got away with branding their product iPhone 3G is that a reasonable portion of their customer base knows the difference between 2G and 3G. For a cutting edge or bleeding edge device like the iPhone, the users of it will be amenable to that. For a majority of customers who use PTT, it’s something they could care less about. They just want it to be easy to use and fast to connect.
i think the real problem here is not just calling both iden ptt and cdma (qchat) ptt direct connect. its that sprint is marketing them as nextel direct connect. so u can have a cdma qchat sanyo phone, and sprint will tell u it is a nextel. because all ptt phones now are considered nextel direct connect phones. so first they get rid of the nextel name all together than bring it back, also get rid of direct connect then bring it back. make up ur mind sprint. (hybrid phones also add to this confusion). and who knows whats sprints marketing plan is all together now. i belive it is the “now network” used to be “sprint ahead” and used to be the “power network” then used to be sprint “yes you can”(even though as a former sprint employee i had to regularly tell customers no u can’t). i have a feeling the nextels sucessfull. DONE. slogan will come back.
Anyway….I believe Sprint purposefully does not want any distinction they want people to know its nextel on sprint…nextel is becoming a service available on sprint. 3G would mean people would have to explain a difference
Folks, we just had to delete a lot of comments for a couple of reasons.
1) It started becoming completely off-topic. We’ve gone through the thread and removed any off topic-discussion. This is not a general QChat discussion… we have forums for that.
2) People built on that off-topic discussion and started becoming very vulgar. Normally, we just edit those comments, but some were very crude.
Some comments were edited for continuity. Please don’t make us start banning users or taking more draconian tactics. There are many more productive uses of your life.
Slapping a 3G to the end of a name is not going to help. In the end Qchat on Sprint’s network is always going to be inferior to the Qchat on Verizon, just simply because most of Verizon’s network operates in 800 CDMA and thus works well out in the nether regions, which to people who currently love Nextel’s Chirp (i.e. repairmen, contractors, delivery people etc.) coverage is very important. Sprint may work great in urban areas, but they don’t meet the challenge for great coverage in rural areas. Until you can give a compelling reason to use Qchat for something other than the people who currently use it, I think the technology itself is doomed to just secondary side groups.
Sprint should just admit defeat and sell of the Nextel network. The only plus side to the transaction was access to Nextel’s towers helping to increase Sprint’s footprint, but that could have been accomplished for a lot less money than what they spent.
The monkeys on Wall Street ruined wireless for everyone. Nextel got the hairbrained idea that they needed to increase subscriber count and created Boost Mobile, which lowered their ARPU and strained the heck out of the network. Sprint’s purchase just put the nails in the coffin by adding poor customer service to the Nextel Brand. It’s debatable whether Sprint survives or not. I have a feeling that Verizon will focus heavily on bringing Nextel Business users over to Verizon and Sprint will be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey with ATT, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Crickett knawing on the carcass.
I don’t think vzw is going to win that round, from reviews about the DOrA ptt solutions Sprint’s is winner. That’s just from context and some testimonials
Does anyone know when the Motorola V950 is coming out ?
“Slapping a 3G to the end of a name is not going to help. In the end Qchat on Sprintâ€™s network is always going to be inferior to the Qchat on Verizon, just simply because most of Verizonâ€™s network operates in 800 CDMA and thus works well out in the nether regions, which to people who currently love Nextelâ€™s Chirp (i.e. repairmen, contractors, delivery people etc.) coverage is very important.”
QChat and/or VZ’s new BrewChat does not work on 800. It only works on EVDO Rev A which is 1900.
I’m getting my very own DC on Sprint in the v950 and could are less than the name and there will be more like me
Don Louie, where did u order your Moto V950 ? I called Sprint yesterday & they said it hadn’t launched yet ?
Don Louie, where did u order your Moto V950 ? I called Sprint yesterday & they said it hadn’t launched.
I ordered it from telesales 8/30, I only had to call once. The rep wanted $180 with a $50 MIR but gave in for $130, should have it by Wednesday
Thanx for the post
I think the name is fine the way it is, what they need to do is get nationwide coverage and bring group/international along
Sorry, but Verizon’s BREWchat works EVERYWHERE that one can get a Verizon signal. Its connectivity speed, however, changes. If you use Verizon’s BREWchat in a EVDO rev A location, your PTT experience will be exactly like Q-chat, which is essentially exactly like Nextel’s DC. However, if you’re not in an EVDO rev A area, Q-chat on Sprint won’t work….but BREWchat on Verizon will. Heck, BREWchat will work on 1xrtt. The difference though is that BREWchat will be seriously slow in non-EVDO rev A areas.
So the question is: does your PTT solution mean you need sub-second connectivity 24/7, or will somewhat slower connectivity do the job? If you can live with somewhat slower connectivity, then Verizon’s BREWchat solution is what you want. Otherwise, it’s essentially Nextel iDEN DC.
As for renaming Q-chat “Direct Connect 3G”, that’s a nice idea, but that won’t cause people to flock to SprintNextel. The problem with Sprint is vast: customer service, inconsistent marketing, reducing the importance of Nextel itself, etc. As a net effect, once loyal Nextel iDEN users saw the negative effect that Sprint was having on their network…and they’ve systematically LEFT this company without looking back. No amount of name changes will bring them back. Sprint has left a very bad taste in their mouths. The only possible way to bring them back is for the Board of Directors and the C-level execs to all be fired, and have someone completely unloyal to Sprint and unloyal to Nextel take over and create an entirely NEW company out of the mess that Forsee and Hesse have created.
Dejan, we never said that using an altered moniker for QChat would drive customers to flock to Sprint.
What we argued was that educating customers with the right (and separate) brands would help keep Direct Connect customers from flocking away from Sprint. Right now, it is still terribly confusing as to using Direct Connect between Sprint and Nextel customers, for the reasons we outlined in the original editorial.
A separate, modified brand would help inform customers what they could, and could not do with each technology.
As to the “fire everyone” idea, please… let’s stay productive here. The world doesn’t work that way, and you’d be throwing out a lot of good people to get rid of a few bad leaders.