Sprint gives away "free nationwide roaming" to customers of most of its current wireless calling plans, but does not explicitly specify how much customers can roam off its network. Say, for example, you buy Sprint Nextel wireless service since a coverage map shows that there is service where you need it. You arrive at this place (home, office, summer home, military training, etc.) and find out that Sprint's coverage is not quite what is needed for a decent wireless phone conversation. You set your phone to "roam" and off you go, probably using the Verizon Wireless or Alltel (NYSE:AT)national networks since they both use the same technology as Sprint's.
A short time later, you receive a cancellation notice from Sprint. Wha? This is what appears to have happened to about 200 soldiers that recently returned from Iraq and were sent to training at West Point. In addition to these U.S. soldiers that had to roam to get service, other Sprint Nextel customers who apparently use more than 50% of their minutes off of Sprint's network are being dropped as well. Sprint is really giving itself a bad eye here, even though it has said that all these cancellations were "researched heavily." But with no prior notice given to these customers, it is putting its foot in its mouth. Again.