Thursday, October 20, 2011

Voice vs. data: how does Sprint judge its network?

It still comes down to voice, at least for Sprint in the US.
Sprint CTO Stephen Bye said during a presentation at the Broadband World Forum late last month in Paris that:
"Voice is becoming less relevant in the planning phase of the network. Our focus is on data-optimised networks. That said, people in the U.S. still judge the quality of a network by the voice quality…they're very sensitive to dropped calls."
The headline of the linked Total Telecom article is particularly fun:  Spectre of voice haunts Sprint's network planners.  
Oooh, those scary voice services …
Bye’s comments carry particular weight considering Sprint’s explicit embrace of free internet services, highlighted by its partnership with Google Voice.  The company is also making a huge bet that its unlimited data plan will help it sell the 30 million iPhones it just bought.
So what’s the quality of Google Voice on Sprint?  And are consumer expectations lower for what is known as “over-the-top” services?
How do you as a consumer judge the quality of your operator's network?  Have your priorities shifted to data rates or is it still about voice quality?
To quote the iconic TV ad campaign from Sprint competitor Verizon:  Can you hear me now?

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