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Thread: The Official "Sprint PCS FAQ" thread

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    The Official "Sprint PCS FAQ" thread

    OK guys, so let's make a thread compiling an FAQ. After 3 days, I'll compile it into a new post, and we'll have our new mod Cruz sticky/lock it.
    -Andrew

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    Sprint PCS FAQ-

    Q-I've been reading a lot about retention. What is it?

    A-The Retention Department is a Sprint department which offers existing customers discounts and/or better plans in exchange for a renewal of contract.

    Q-My Vision isn't working. HELP!

    A-First off, you can try a very simple troubleshooting routine. Turn off your phone andremove the battery. Wait a few seconds, then replace and turn on the phone. Try Vision now. If it doesn't work, there is nothing anyone on this forum can do, you are better off calling Customer Service at 888-211-4727.

    Q-When is bluetooth coming to Sprint?

    A-As far as any of us know, the first expected bluetooth Sprint handset is the Sony Ericsson T608, due out sometime in 2003.

    Q-What is the best Sprint phone in terms of reception?

    A-You will find that many of the users of this forum tend to favor Sanyo handsets because they offer better reception. Other phones also with good reputations are the Nokia 3585i and the Hitachi P300.

    Q-Can I use my laptop to access vision?

    A-Technically, YES you can access vision using a laptop and a Futuredial cable (From radioshack, compusa, or Ebay.) However, the Sprint terms and conditions (T&Cs) do not allow for this type of usage, and the company has been known to charge for/disconnect Vision if this kind of usage is excessively used. Most people have been able to get their account credited for these charges, however.

    Q-My question wasn't answered here, what can I do?

    A-Try a search (the orange button at the top of the screen). If it doesn't help you out, post a new thread. You'll find many people ready to help you.

    Ok, let's start there. Suggestions for addition/removal or correction need to be posted, and then we'll get a new FAQ.

  3. #3
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    Q: How does text messaging (SMS) work on Sprint PCS?

    A: Sprint uses something called "Short Mail" instead of traditional SMS. It is "online" rather than on board your phone, and you use your phone's web browser to access it. Most other carriers store and compose text messages right on the phone, but Sprint does it over the web. It's sort of like the difference between Hotmail and a real POP client like Eudora (you can just ignore that last sentence if it didn't mean anything to you).

    And yes, Short Mail is compatible (interoperable) with SMS from other carriers. If someone from another carrier sends you a SMS from their phone, it will show up in your Short Mail, and if you send a Short Mail to someone who uses another carrier, it will arrive on their phone as a "normal" SMS.

    There is one other (much less-used) type of text messages on Sprint that you should know about. They are called "Notifications" on Vision phones, but they're called "1-Way Text Messages" if you have an older, non-Vision phone. These come directly to your phone, and are stored there. A Notification is essentially the same as an alphanumeric page.

    Notes on Notifications:
    * Anyone can send a Notification to a Sprint phone by visiting <messaging.sprintpcs.com>.
    * They can also be sent via email by addressing a message to <[email protected]> where 444-555-1111 is the recipient's Sprint PCS phone number.
    * Notifications only include the first 160 characters or so (including the To: and Subject: fields). The rest is truncated (ignored).
    * Notifications (or 1-Way Texts) cannnot be delivered to a non-Vision phone that does not have either the "Wireless Web" or "Text Messaging" option on the account.

    Pricing:
    * Short Mail is billed the same as using your browser, so it is unlimited at no additional cost if you have Vision.
    * Unlimited Notifications are included with Vision.
    * For non-Vision phones, Short Mail costs airtime (plus a surcharge of around $0.39/min if you do not have the Wireless Web option on your account) just like any other browser usage.
    * 50 "1-Way Texts" are included with the Wireless Web option, and additional usage is billed at around $0.25 per message.

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    Q: What is a PRL?

    A: A PRL (Preferred Roaming List) is a set of information held in a CDMA phone that tells it which antenna towers to prefer when roaming. Having the latest version of your provider's PRL generally means that you will be able to take advantage of the most current roaming agreements that your provider has negotiated (this can mean better roaming coverage).

    Q: Can I use a phone from another carrier (like Verizon) with my Sprint PCS account?

    A: No. Even if the other carrier uses CDMA/CDMA2000, you can't do it. The biggest reason is that Sprint keeps a database of the unique ESN (Electronic Serial Number) of every phone manufactured for use on their network. Sprint will not allow you to activate a phone that is not in that database. Another reason is that Sprint uses "special" firmware on their phones, so even if you are trying to activate a Verizon phone model that both Sprint and Verizon carry (such as the Motorola V120c), there would be compatibility problems due to the different firmware. There would also likely be PRL issues.

    Q: Can I use a phone from another country (like Korea) with my Sprint PCS account?

    A: No. Even though Korea (and some other countries) use CDMA/CDMA2000, you can't do it. You would have all of the same problems as with a Verizon phone (ESN database, firmware and PRL issues), but there are also frequency issues. Phones in North America operate in the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz frequency bands, while phones in Korea (for example) operate in the 800 MHz and 1700 MHz bands. Because Sprint only uses 1900 MHz, there is no way that a Korean domestic market phone would ever work with Sprint PCS. (There have been some reports in the past that some shops have been able to get Korean phones working on Verizon's 800 MHz CDMA network, but it's very difficult and may not be possible anymore.)

    Q: I heard about a new phone coming out for Sprint PCS. When will it be out?

    A: You never can tell for sure. Sometimes you will hear rumors that a phone will be out "next month" or "next week," but sometimes they are cancelled or delayed at the last minute (note the Motorola V60c and the Sony Ericsson T608). Sometimes a Sprint employee will have more concrete data, but they are not allowed to share that information (and things can still change, even after Sprint tells its own employees something). So, you can pay attention to the forums to get a good idea, but you can never be absolutely sure what is going to happen or when.

  5. #5
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    Q: I'm considering buying a used Sprint PCS phone (from eBay or elsewhere). Is there anything I should know?

    A: Yes; most critically, you need to make sure that the ESN is "clear" and ready for activation with Sprint. If a phone is reported stolen or if a person doesn't pay their bill, the associated ESN will be "locked out" by Sprint and you will not be able to activate that phone. You should get the ESN (it's on a sticker under the battery on the back of the phone itself) and call Sprint's customer service line to verify that it is "clear."

    Sprint won't be able to give you details unless you know the name of the person who last activated the phone, but even if you don't know it you can ask the representative something like, "I'm thinking of buying this phone used, and I want to make sure that everything's okay. Can you tell me if you think it would be okay for me to buy this phone and use it with my account?" If there are problems with the ESN then they will tell you that you probably shouldn't buy it.

    Be wary of any eBay auction that says something like, "I don't know the history of this phone." If you see that, there is a good chance that the phone is stolen or tied to an unpaid account. (Even if it doesn't say that, you should always check all ESNs before paying. This applies even when buying from someone in person.)

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