Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel Corporation
Type Public company
Traded as NYSES
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1937
Founder(s) Cleyson Brown (B.T.C./ Sprint)
Morgan O'Brien (FleetCall/ Nextel)
Headquarters Overland Park, Kansas, US
Area served United States
Key people James Hance
Dan Hesse
(President and CEO)
Services Wireless
Revenue increase US$ 32.563 billion (2010)[1]
Operating income increase US$ -595 million (2010)[1]
Net income decrease US$ -3.465 billion (2010)[1]
Total assets decrease US$ 51.654 billion (2010)[1]
Total equity decrease US$ 14.546 billion (2010)[1]
Employees 40,000 (2010)[1]
Website sprint.com

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSES) is an American telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company owns and operates Sprint, the third largest wireless telecommunications network in the United States, with 53.4 million customers, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility.[2] Sprint Nextel also owns a separate wireless division, Sprint Prepaid Group which offers prepay wireless services as Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.

Sprint is a global Internet carrier and makes up a portion of the Internet backbone. In the United States, the company is the third largest long distance provider and also owns a majority of Clearwire, which operates the largest wireless broadband network.

The company was renamed in 2005 with the purchase of Nextel Communications by Sprint Corporation. The company continues to operate using two separate wireless network technologies, CDMA and iDEN (for Nextel and some Boost Mobile subscribers). In 2006, the company spun off its local landline telephone business, naming it Embarq (which was subsequently acquired by CenturyTel). In 2009, Sprint reached an agreement to outsource management of its wireless networks to Ericsson.

Sprint Nextel launched its first WiMAX wireless card on December 21, 2008 (the Franklin Wireless u300 broadband card), and the first WiMAX phone available in the United States (the HTC Evo 4G) on June 4, 2010, utilizing its WiMAX technology from Clearwire Corp. A recent Consumer Reports survey tied Sprint with perennial front-runner Verizon Wireless in terms of customer satisfaction, a big improvement over previous years.[3]



Early history

Sprint Nextel traces its origins to the Brown Telephone Company, which was founded in 1899, by C.L. Brown and Jacob Brown, to deploy telephone service to the rural area around Abilene. The Browns installed their first long-distance circuit in 1900, and chartered their own company in October 1902.

In March 1903, they joined with 14 other Kansas independents to incorporate the Union Telephone and Telegraph Company, which would provide long-distance service to Kansas City.

In September 1911, C.L. Brown consolidated the Brown Telephone Company with three other independents to form a new alliance and the second largest telephone company in Kansas, the United Telephone Company, which controlled seven major telephone exchanges.

Depression, bankruptcy and reorganization

Brown formed United Telephone and Electric (UT&E) in 1925 in order to purchase stock in subsidiary companies across widely scattered geographical areas, eventually controlling more than 68 other companies. More than two-thirds of these were telephone companies. The Great Depression caused more than three million telephone subscribers to give up their phone service between 1931 and 1933. Consequently, UT&E suffered severe financial strain and had to seek protection to reorganize under the bankruptcy laws. All but six of its 85 companies, all battered by hard times, survived and some were showing profits again in 1936. During the reorganization, a number of companies were merged and later phased out. The reorganization plan received final approval in late 1937.

UT&E was dissolved, and its assets placed under the new company, United Utilities, Incorporated. Later, when Paul H. Henson became president of United Utilities in 1964, he almost immediately reorganized the company in accordance with C.L. Brown’s belief that centralizing some of the company’s functions would result in greater efficiency, cost reductions, and growth.

United Telecommunications (United Telecom)

In 1972, United Utilities changed its name to United Telecommunications, known as United Telecom for short. In 1980 United Telecom launched a national X.25 data service, Uninet. To enter the long-distance voice market, United Telecom acquired ISACOMM in 1981 and US Telephone in 1984. In 1983 United Telecom began offering cellular telephone services in their territories under the brand name Telespectrum.

GTE Sprint

Southern Pacific Communications Company (SPC), a unit of the Southern Pacific Railroad, began providing long-distance telephone service after the Execunet II decision late in 1978. SPC was headquartered in Burlingame, California, where Sprint still maintains a technology laboratory, on Adrian Court.

The Railroad had an extensive microwave communications system along its rights of way used for internal communications; later, after the Execunet II decision, they expanded by laying fiber optic cables along the same rights of way. In 1972 they began selling surplus capacity on that system to corporations for use as private lines, thereby circumventing AT&T's then-monopoly on public telephony. Prior attempts at offering long distance voice services had not been approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), although a fax service (called SpeedFAX) was permitted.

As mentioned, SPC was only permitted to provide private lines, not switched services. When MCI Communications released Execunet, SPC took the FCC to court to get the right to offer switched services, and succeeded (the "Execunet II" decision). They decided they needed a new name to differentiate the switched voice service from SpeedFAX, and ran an internal contest to select one. The winning entry was "Sprint", an acronym for Switched PRIvate Network Telecommunications.

The Sprint service was first marketed to six metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego and Anaheim, California. The switches were located in Los Angeles and New York. A customer was required to have a private line connection to one of these switches in order to use the service and paid an access fee per private line. Access was also available by dialing an access number to connect to the SPRINT switch. The customer was then billed at 2.6 cents per tenth of a minute increment.

In 1982 SPC and GTE entered into merger negotiations and in 1983 emerged under the name "GTE Sprint". GTE had previously acquired a national X.25 provider, Telenet, in 1979.

Consolidation and re-branding to Sprint Corporation

Logo in use from 1987 until 2005.

In 1986, GTE Sprint and Telenet were merged with the United Telecom properties US Telecom, Uninet and ISACOMM, to form US Sprint. Initially this was a joint venture co-owned by GTE and United. Then in 1988 United sold Telespectrum to Centel to fund the purchase of an additional 30% of US Sprint. This purchase gave United operational control of US Sprint.

In 1989 United Telecom purchased a controlling interest, and in 1991 completed its acquisition of US Sprint. The next year, in 1992, United Telecommunications adopts the nationally recognized identity of its long distance unit, changing its name to Sprint Corporation, due in large part to the increased brand recognition as a result of the successful Candice Bergen "Dime Lady" advertisement campaign.

Return to wireless

In 1995, Sprint acquired Centel, which allowed them to provide local service in a total of 18 states and put them back in the wireless market. In 1994, Sprint spun off their existing cellular operations as 360 Communications for regulatory reasons, in order to start a new service in the PCS band. In 1998 360 Communications was acquired by Alltel, which was in turn acquired by Verizon in 2009.

In late 1994 and early 1995 Sprint acquired near nationwide 1900Mhz PCS spectrum, via Sprint Spectrum–APC (a joint venture between Sprint and several cable companies). Later in 1995, the company began to offer wireless service under the Sprint Spectrum brand in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. This was the first commercial PCS network in the United States. Although the current Sprint PCS service is CDMA, the original Washington-area network used GSM. Eventually Sprint launched their new nationwide CDMA network, then in 1999 sold the decommissioned GSM infrastructure to Omnipoint which re-launched in May 2000. Omnipoint was later acquired by VoiceStream Wireless, which eventually became part of T-Mobile USA.

Partnerships and more consolidation

In September 1996, Sprint announced a deal with RadioShack, and in 1997 Sprint stores opened at RadioShack to offer their communications services and products through RadioShack Stores across the United States. Since then, over 20 million Sprint cell phones have been sold via the RadioShack outlets. RadioShack was one of the first retailers to offer Sprint services and an all-digital nationwide network for its customers.

On October 5, 1999, Sprint and MCI WorldCom announced a $129 billion merger agreement between the two companies. The deal would have been the largest corporate merger in history at the time. However, the deal did not go through because of pressure from the United States Department of Justice and the European Union on concerns of it creating a monopoly.

In 2003, Sprint began recombining their local telecom, long distance, wireline, and wireless business units into a new company, in an initiative known internally as "One Sprint." In April 2004, the separately traded wireless tracking stock, "PCS," was absorbed into the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) "FON" ticker symbol, Sprint's former ticker symbol. (FON stood for "Fiber Optic Network," but was also a homophone of the word "phone"). This was challenged in many lawsuits by Sprint PCS shareholders who felt robbed because their stock was devalued through the ratio of 1 share of PCS stock for 1/2 share of FON stock. The PCS shareholders claimed a loss of 1.3 billion to 3.4 billion dollars.

Nextel Communications

Nextel was founded as FleetCall in 1987 by Morgan E. O' Brien, a Washington, DC, communications attorney, and Brian D. McAuley. FleetCall changed its name to Nextel Communications in 1993. In 1995, wireless pioneer Craig McCaw became a significant investor in the company. U.S. Senator and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner was one of the early investors. Daniel Akerson served as CEO of Nextel for part of his career. Tim Donahue replaced Akerson as CEO in 1998.

Nextel International

Nextel International was founded in 1996 as a subsidiary of Nextel to operate as a holding company for both mobile service and network infrastructure in foreign countries. It initially operated in Latin America and the Philippines. In 2001, Nextel International declared bankruptcy and re-emerged as NII Holdings, Inc. Following Sprint's purchase of Nextel, Nextel sold off most of its investment.

Merger of Sprint and Nextel Corporations

On December 15, 2004, Sprint and NEXTEL announced they would merge to form Sprint Nextel Corporation. While billed as a merger of equals, the merger was transacted as purchase of NEXTEL Communications by Sprint Corporation for tax reasons (Sprint purchased 50.1% of Nextel, and spun off the local telecom division to become Embarq). At the time of the merger announcement Sprint and NEXTEL were the No. 3 and No. 5 leading providers in the U.S. mobile phone industry.

Sprint shareholders overwhelmingly approved the merger on July 13, 2005. The merger deal was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Justice on August 3, 2005. The FCC placed a condition on the merger that Sprint Nextel is to provide wireless service within the 2.5 GHz band within the next four years. Sprint Nextel was officially formed on August 12, 2005, when the deal was completed.

Sprint and NEXTEL both faced opposition to the merger, mostly from regional affiliates that provide wireless services on behalf of the companies. These regional affiliates felt that the new company would be violating non-compete agreements that the former companies had made with the affiliates.

Since the merger Nextel Customers are now able to convert their plans to the Sprint side, and Sprint Customers can convert their accounts to the Nextel side. Both changes would require purchasing new phone equipment.

On September 1, 2005, Sprint Nextel combined plan offerings of its Sprint and Nextel brands to bring more uniformity across the company's offerings.

In addition to the U.S. market, Nextel has licensed its identity to NII Holdings, Inc., a holding company of which Sprint Nextel owns 18%. They have used the Nextel brand to set up networks in many Latin American countries.

The integration process was difficult in that top Nextel Executives began leaving the company immediately after the merger closed. Tim Donahue, Nextel CEO, stayed on as executive chairman, but ceded decision-making authority to Forsee. Tom Kelly, COO of Nextel, took an interim staff position as Chief Strategy Officer. Two years after the merger, only a few key Nextel executives remained, with many former Nextel middle- and upper-level managers having left while citing reasons including unbridgeable cultural difference between the two companies.

Sprint's acquisition of Nextel ultimately was a disaster from a fiscal standpoint – in 2008, the company wrote down $29.7 billion of the $36 billion sum it had paid for Nextel in 2005, wiping out 80% of the value of Nextel at the time it had been acquired.[4] The write down reflected the depreciation in Nextel's goodwill since the date of acquisition.[5]

Return to Overland Park

Sprint World Headquarters Campus designed by RMJM Hillier in Overland Park, Kansas.

After moving its world headquarters to Reston, Virginia after the Nextel merger, Sprint reconsolidated its world headquarters and operational headquarters back to Overland Park, Kansas. The move was widely regarded as a strategy to help the company reorganize and become more efficient.[6]



Sprint is the main wireless brand of Sprint Nextel Corporation, differentiating it from Sprint PCS of the previous Sprint Corporation. Sprint Nextel maintains its nationwide PCS presence with the help of affiliates. These smaller companies, in agreement with Sprint, build network infrastructure as well as operate retail stores. In exchange, the smaller companies receive usage of Sprint's brand, radio spectrum, customer service and billing. In most cases, these affiliate carriers are transparent to the end user or consumer. This has also given Sprint a unique advantage over other carriers, in that their entire network was built for Sprint. Other national carriers coverage areas are made up of merged and acquired networks, which can cause inconsistent network harmony and other related problems.

Nextel Direct Connect

NEXTEL now Nextel Direct Connect, is used as the brand name for Sprint's line of walkie-talkie enabled phones. Along with iDEN based models, Powersource (CDMA/iDEN) and QChat models are branded as Sprint phones with Nextel Direct Connect service.[7]

Sprint Prepaid Group

The Sprint Prepaid Group is a division of Sprint Nextel that was formed in May 2010. Sprint Nextel offers prepaid wireless services under its Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, payLo by Virgin Mobile and Assurance Wireless brands.

Boost Mobile

Boost Mobile also uses Sprint's CDMA and iDEN networks. Boost Mobile offers Unlimited talk & walkie-talkie (iDEN only), messaging and data on no-contract monthly plans. It also offers a pay as you go plan. The plan, called "Shrinkage," lowers the monthly amount due for consistent and timely payment. Its service is aimed at 'budget minded' consumers.

Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA operates simply as Virgin Mobile, uses Sprint's CDMA network. It offers customers with heavy social networking needs unlimited messaging and data plans as well as mobile broadband service, with no contract required. The network has about 6 million subscribers. Virgin Mobile targets young consumers. Virgin Mobile USA also offers pay as you go options under its payLo by Virgin Mobile brand.

Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is a subsidiary of Sprint Nextel that Virgin Mobile USA, Inc. operates. It offers lifeline telephone service under the United States Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund program. The program offers a free wireless phone and 250 free local and domestic long distance voice minutes per month to eligible low-income customers.

End users do not receive a bill, are not required to sign a contract and do not pay activation fees, recurring fees or surcharges. Text messaging is not included with the 200 free voice minutes, unlike TracFone's competing SafeLink program. In addition to the free services customers receive, they may add on additional minutes, text messaging service and international long distance via pre-payment using a credit card, debit card, Virgin Mobile top up card or PayPal.

As of October 2011, Assurance Wireless service is available to qualifying residents of Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.[8]


Affiliate Acquisition

In 2005, Sprint Nextel acquired three of its ten wireless affiliates: US Unwired (deal closed in August), Gulf Coast Wireless (deal closed in October), and IWO Holdings (deal closed in October). Alamosa PCS was the largest of its affiliate carriers, which Sprint Nextel acquired on February 2, 2006. Other affiliates include Ubiquitel (acquired), iPCS (acquired), Shentel, Enterprise (acquired), Northern PCS (acquired), and Swiftel. Out of Sprint's original ten affiliates, only two now remain (Shentel and Swiftel). (See the Forced acquisitions and settlements section below for more details on acquisitions)

Affiliates of SprintNextel Corp. and Sprint Rural Alliance

CDMA Affiliates: Swiftel in Brookings, South Dakota;[9] Shentel in northern Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

CDMA Partners (SRA Members): Alaska DigiTel in Alaska; Alltel Wireless in Montana; NTelos in West Virginia, and western Virginia; NexTech Wireless in Kansas, and part of Colorado; Pioneer Cellular in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Sprint Affiliates are those carriers who use the Sprint name to offer their services yet operate their own network and use Sprint SIDs.

Sprint Partners are those carriers who use their own equipment and also sell their own service. In addition to allowing Sprint to use their equipment, they allow Sprint to hold their license(s) in that area.

Sprint Partners is known as "Sprint Rural Alliance" (SRA).

Sprint's iDEN Network

Sprint Nextel's iDEN network is used and operated for walkie-talkie or "Direct Connect" push-to-talk phones. Nextel is currently offered as a sub-brand under Sprint. It utilizes small 800–900 MHz frequency bands. Sprint's prepay division Boost Mobile also utilizes their iDEN network.

Phase out

In October 2010, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse announced plans to shut down the iDEN network to focus on 4G technology and strengthening the CDMA network.

As the shifting to more broadband-centric PTT applications on the CDMA network occurs, it is expected that iDEN cell sites will be phased out. This phase out is expected to begin in 2013.[10]

Sprint's CDMA/EVDO 3G Network

Sprint PCS Vision/Power Vision Network

The Sprint network operates a combination 2G & 3G wireless network, using the 1xRTT/EVDO standard, which is part of the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standard. In 2006, Sprint's EV-DO Power Vision network reached more than 190 Million people. Sprint had announced plans to continue upgrading their 3G EV-DO network, until it reaches 260 million people in 2007.[11] Not all of Sprint's network has been upgraded to 3G, with several places like Shreveport, LA and Tupelo, MS still lacking 3G.[12]

Sprint's EV-DO (Power Vision) data options include Sprint TV, Sprint Radio (both specialized and local radio) Stations, Sprint Music Store, Sprint On-Demand, unlimited Web access, video and picture mail, wireless chat and games. It is currently being offered in 43 states in the United States.

Data Fees

Sprint's Vision data access starts at $15 a month for regular phones and PDA phones on the CDMA network ($10 on IDEN for regular phones). The most expensive data package was the "Phone as Modem" plan, which required a $40.00 data pro pack plus $15.00 for Phone as Modem, and allowed customers to tether their phone to a computer for use as a wireless modem. While at one point this attachable could be added to any price plan, it is currently restricted from all Everything Messaging, Everything Data, and Simply Everything price plans. Everything Data and Simply Everything include Unlimited Phone-Based Data in their plan price, where Everything Messaging covers data use for SMS/MMS use only. Unlike Verizon's EV-DO offering, Sprint's Power Vision content is available in areas without EV-DO coverage, albeit at the lower speeds of the 1xRTT network. CDMA 1x data speeds can reach 144 kbit/s, while EV-DO currently has bursts of up to 3.1 Mbit/s.

2011 Coverage Issues

Since the first quarter of 2011 many complaints have emerged across the web about the capacity of Sprint's 3G Network. Many customers have complained of extremely slow data speeds well below their advertised levels and comparable to dialup during peak hours of the day. Many customers are also complaining of the customer service regarding this issue. PcMagazine also did a review of the Sprint Network and declared it the slowest network out of all the carriers with a national average of about 434kbps which is below the advertised speeds of 660kbps

Sprint's data roaming agreements

On May 9, 2006, Sprint Nextel and Alltel agreed on a new Nationwide Roaming partnership.[13][14] The new roaming agreement is for both voice, 1x & EV-DO data roaming coverage. This new partnership is different from voice only roaming agreement between Alltel & Verizon Wireless in that it is reciprocal, giving Alltel customers access to Sprint 1x & EV-DO network, and Sprint customers access to Alltel denser rural 1x & EV-DO voice and data coverage. This agreement represents the first of its kind between U.S. wireless carriers. Although Alltel merged with Verizon Wireless in 2008, one of the conditions of the merger was that Verizon will honor all pre-existing agreements between Alltel and other companies. The roaming reciprocity agreement between Alltel and Sprint is set to expire in 2016.

Sprint and Verizon Wireless have a reciprocal data roaming agreement[15] that even allows for the use of Sprint Power Vision content like TV, movie downloads, and stream radio in Verizon 1x coverage areas.

Sprint and US Cellular have a 1xRTT data and voice roaming agreement.

Mobile virtual network operators

Sprint Nextel also provides wholesales capacity on its PCS/CDMA wireless network to mobile virtual network operators. Allowing other wireless carriers to utilize Sprint's Network. Sprint's prepaid brands operate on both Sprint CDMA and the iDEN (only Boost Mobile) networks; however, they are not an MVNO, but rather wholly owned prepaid divisions of Sprint Nextel.

Broadband for the home via Sprint Mobile

In a play to offer broadband directly to the home, Sprint launched a co-branded Broadband[16] Wireless Access Point device along with Linksys, a unit of Cisco Systems. This unit allows Sprint customers to set up a special in home or office computer network connecting multiple computers or laptops wirelessly to Sprint's PowerVision network. This broadband service to the Internet will allow some customers to have broadband without having to pay for telephone service, as some U.S.-based telephone companies like Verizon Communications make it difficult for customers to purchase only ADSL (Broadband) services without also purchasing the separate telephone service. The PowerVision router may be one avenue to bypass the local telephone and cable broadband service providers in being provided with Broadband to the home. Such Broadband offerings to the home or office without cable or DSL means the router could be used to provision cheaper VoIP services through Sprint's High Speed network.

Digital Lounge

Sprint now has a Digital Lounge area on the website where there is access to a variety of products and information. In this centralized location Sprint users can login and buy items for their phones including ringers, call tones, games,[17] screen savers, full-length music downloads and more. The online content manager shows the subscriber what items they have purchased for their phone. Guests visiting the Sprint Digital Lounge can select a phone from a list of options and use it to see what items are available for purchase and compatible with a particular phone.

Sprint Music Store

On October 31, 2005, the Sprint Music Store officially launched for PCS customers. Initial record-label participation included: EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. On November 1, 2006, after one year of service, the Sprint music store has sold more than 8 million songs partly thanks to the 5 free songs it offered its customers at launch.[18] On April 1, 2007 the Sprint Music Store started offering over the air music downloads at the price of 99 cents per track if a customer agrees to subscribe to a Vision pack of $15 or higher. Sprint Music Store is currently available for all Android 3G and 4G phones as well as the BlackBerry Style 9670 phones and was launched as the Sprint Music Plus service in 2011 powered by Realnetworks. It offers full track music files from various labels (albums and single tracks), ringback tones, and ringtones. An icon on BlackBerry phones for Sprint Music Store directs users to a page describing that Sprint will release a version of Sprint Music Store soon. In 2011, the Sprint Music Store became available for the BlackBerry Bold 9650.

Sprint's WiMAX/LTE 4G Network


Sprint is currently rolling out its 4G technology by utilizing WiMAX, which will allow customers to access cable broadband-like speeds wirelessly.[citation needed] The rollout is expected to reach 100 metropolitan areas and 120 million people by the end of 2010. Sprint expects to spend over 3 billion dollars upgrading the existing network to WiMAX technology, called Xohm. Motorola, Nokia and Samsung have expressed interest in developing dual CDMA and WiMAX phones, allowing customers to utilize both networks. More recently, Google and Sprint announced a formal partnership in deploying WiMAX technology, with Google providing search content along with Sprint.

On May 7, 2008, Sprint Nextel announced it would merge its WiMAX wireless broadband unit with Clearwire, combining Sprint's Xohm service with the Clearwire broadband network. Sprint will own a simple majority of the resulting company, with current Clearwire shareholders owning just over a quarter. A consortium of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel, Google, and Bright House will invest $3.2 billion and own the balance.[19] The new firm will be called "Clear". Both Sprint and Clear will run off of and have the same network. Whether Sprint will be a "MVNO" on Clear's 4G network or have it considered Sprint's native network, since it owns a majority of Clear, is unknown.

On October 8, 2008, Sprint launched WiMax in Baltimore and showed off several new laptops that will have embedded WiMax chips. And they announced that Sprint will be offering dual-mode 3G/'4G' products by the end of the year. Baltimore is the first city to get Xohm, but it is expected to launch soon in more cities, such as Chicago and Philadelphia.[20]

On January 6, 2009, Clearwire launched WiMax in Portland under the Clear brand name. And on June 12, 2009, the CLEAR brand was launched across the entire Atlanta metropolitan area – by far the largest of CLEAR's 4G markets by land area.[21]

On March 23, 2010, Sprint and HTC announced at a CTIA trade show that they would be releasing the HTC EVO 4G, the first 4G phone in the United States. The phone was available June 4, 2010, ahead of competitors' planned releases for 4G phones.[22]

On April 19, 2011, Sprint announced an agreement with Clearwire to pay at least $1 billion to use Clearwire's 4G WiMax network through 2012.


On July 28, 2011, Sprint Nextel announced that they have entered into a 15-year agreement that includes spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming with LightSquared.

On October 7, 2011, Sprint Nextel announced at the Sprint Strategy Update conference their initial LTE deployment plans. Initial deployments of LTE began on October 27, 2011 by Network Vision-partner Samsung in Chicago,[23] along with LTE devices available in Mid-2012. LTE is expected to cover 123 million people in 2012 and over 250 million people by end of 2013. Sprint will initially deploy LTE in the 1900 Mhz 'G' block and over time will add LTE to its 1900 Mhz A-G blocks and to its 800 Mhz ESMR band. Sprint will also attempt to leverage LightSquared LTE at the 1600 Mhz band pending FCC approval as well as wholesale Clearwire LTE at the 2500 Mhz band if a deal can be made.[24]


SprintLink is a global Tier 1 Internet service provider network, operating an OC-192 Internet backbone. Customers include large multinational corporations, retail and restaurant chains, Tier 2 and Tier 3 ISPs, and medium-to-small businesses. SprintLink has physical presence in the United States, Western Europe, East Asia, Australia, and India. The network wraps all the way around the world with buried fiber optics in the United States and Europe, and undersea fiber in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. SprintLink is the party responsible for cable maintenance and administration in the TAT-14 Consortium. Sprint is currently in the process of upgrading their SprintLink core to OC-768 lines to offer increased bandwidth.[25]


Sprint announced via press release on April 5, 2011, that it had won more Atlantic-ACM Global Wholesale and U.S. Wholesale awards in 2011 than any other telecommunications carrier. The company cited global wins in Brand and Voice Value, and domestic wins in Brand, Provisioning, Network and Customer Service.[26]

Sprint's partnership with Sun Microsystems

While many CDMA carriers like Verizon Wireless and Alltel, i.e., "Get It Now", "Media Center" and "Axcess," respectively, have chosen to use the BREW interface on their phones, Sprint has opted to use the more widespread Java interface for their phone's application support. This allows for the use of Third-Party software applications.[27][28]

Android Market

Sprint recently strengthened its bond with Google and the Android operating system by allowing subscribers to bill application purchases from the Android Market to their phone account as opposed to only being able to use a credit card through Google Checkout.


During the unveiling of the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011, Apple Inc. announced that Sprint will begin carrying the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The iPhone 3GS will not be supported as it is GSM only and is not compatible with Sprint's CDMA/EVDO network.

Acquisitions and settlements

Prior to the merger, the Sprint Corporation and Nextel Communications were dependent on a network of affiliated companies. Following the announcement of the merger agreement, some of these affiliates came forward with a strong opposition to the Sprint Nextel merger on the grounds that the merged company may violate existing agreements or significantly undercut earnings to these affiliates. In order for Sprint Nextel to allay some of this opposition by affiliates, they were forced to initiate discussions of either acquiring some of these affiliates or renegotiate existing agreements. In several cases the newly formed company was forced to acquire affiliated companies in exchange for them dropping their opposition of the merger. Foresee has said that the company would likely have to acquire all of its remaining affiliates.

Below are companies which Sprint Nextel has agreed to or has already acquired:

  • August 12, 2005: Sprint acquires the Sprint PCS affiliate US Unwired for $1.3B. Thus adding some 500,000 additional direct customers to the Sprint Nextel company.[29]
  • August 30, 2005: Sprint Nextel announces the intention to acquire IWO Holdings, Inc. a mainly New England-based network affiliate for the Sprint PCS business. (This acquisition closed on October 20, 2005.)
  • Another acquisition forced by Gulf Coast Wireless, added an additional 95,000 customers mainly in Louisiana and Mississippi to Sprint Nextel's CDMA network. (With that closing on October 3, 2005).
  • November 21, 2005: Sprint Nextel announces a $4.3B. acquisition agreement for Texas-based Sprint PCS affiliate Alamosa Holdings. Potentially adding an additional 1.48 million customers to Sprint Nextel.[30]
  • December 16, 2005: Sprint Nextel announces a $98 million agreement to acquire Enterprise Communications of Columbus, Georgia, thus adding over 52,000 customers to the company's PCS Wireless division.[31]
  • December 16, 2005: Sprint Nextel announces acquisition of non-affiliate Velocita Wireless. The transaction will enhance the iDEN network's 900 MHz spectrum position.[32] On July 2, 2007 Velocita Wireless, which became an indirect subsidiary of Sprint Nextel was acquired by United Wireless Holdings, Inc.[33]
  • December 21, 2005: Sprint Nextel Corporation and Nextel Partners, Inc finally reach an agreement for a $6.5 billion deal where the Sprint Nextel Corporation will acquire the largest of Nextel's affiliates to end Nextel Partners' opposition to any changes by Sprint in relation to the NEXTEL merger. Once completed the Nextel Partners deal will add more than 2 million customers directly to the Sprint Nextel company.[34]
  • April 20, 2006: Sprint Nextel Corporation and Ubiquitel PCS Corporation reached an agreement where the Sprint Nextel Corporation would acquire Ubiquitelpcs, an exclusive Sprint PCS provider.[35]
  • March 17, 2007: Sprint Nextel Corporation completes integration of Nextel Partners customers into the Sprint Nextel system. Nextel Partners Las Vegas headquarters shuts down service and all Nextel Partners customers are now handled through the new "Ensemble" billing system. All Nextel Partners customers are now officially Sprint Nextel customers and are entitled to the same promotions as all other Sprint Nextel iDEN customers.
  • August 2, 2007: Sprint Nextel Corporation completed the acquisition of Northern PCS for $312.5 million including debt.[36]
  • July 28, 2009: Sprint Nextel announces a $483 million acquisition agreement for Virgin Mobile USA, adding an additional 5 million pre-paid customers to Sprint Nextel, although these subscribers were counted in Sprint's total subscriber count, as Virgin Mobile USA was a MVNO on Sprint's CDMA network.[37]
  • October 19, 2009: Sprint Nextel agrees to acquire iPCS, one of its last remaining affiliates.
  • December 6, 2010: Sprint announces plans to phase out the iDEN network by 2013.


On September 17, 2007, Sprint Nextel Corp. launched the Airave, which increases cell reception over an area of 5,000 square feet (460 m2) and can handle up to three calls at once by hooking into an existing broadband connection and using VOIP. the Airave helps eliminate the obstacles of poor signal quality inside buildings. Airave is used only for voice calls using a Sprint CDMA phone at this time and is not available for Nextel iDEN phones or data cards/USB modems. By default, the Airave unit allows any Sprint phone to connect through it, but it can be reconfigured to only accept connections from up to 50 authorized numbers in order to eliminate unwanted use.[38]

Law enforcement cooperation

Sprint Nextel provided U.S. government agencies with its subscribers' GPS locations over 8 million times in a one year period between September 2008 and October 2009.[39] The disclosures occurred by way of a special, secure portal which Sprint developed specifically for government officials, which enables users to automatically obtain Sprint customers' GPS locations after submitting a court order or search warrant, or in exigent situations. The GPS function is only allowed after the request has been reviewed and activated by Sprint's surveillance department.

Major sponsorships

In music

  • Sprint Nextel was the official wireless sponsor of the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. Sprint Power Vision customers were able to watch the VMAs on a live simulcast on their Sprint Power Vision handset free of charge.

Onscreen (in films)

  • Sprint Nextel is the official wireless sponsor of Regal Cinemas, which reminds movie patrons to silence their cellphones before the feature presentation.

Onscreen (in television)

  • Sprint was a sponsor of the Fox television series 24 and currently a sponsor of Fringe and provides exclusive content to its cell phone subscribers
  • Sprint was a major sponsor of the NBC television series Heroes and provided exclusive web content to subscribers.
  • Sprint is a major sponsor of competition reality shows, such as Big Brother and Survivor on CBS, enabling viewers to vote each week for "Player of the Game". Viewers can text a vote for their selected contestant, and a randomly selected participant who votes for the most popular player wins a cash prize.
  • Sprint is the mobile sponsor of NBC's The Voice.

In sports

  • Sprint Nextel is the major title sponsor of NASCAR’s top racing series, formerly called the NEXTEL Cup, which became known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting January 1, 2008.[40]


Nextel's NASCAR FanView named to Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2006

In Time Magazine's November 13 issue, Sprint Nextel's NASCAR FanView was added to the list One of Best Inventions of 2006.[42] The NASCAR FanView is a portable PDA that runs on Sprint's data network. The device offers fans access to "Race telecast and up to seven in-car camera channels, direct audio feeds allowing the user to listen to live driver and team conversations, as well as the radio broadcast and an exclusive audio-replay feature."

Celebrity spokespersons

  • From October 1990 through September 1998, actress Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) served as spokesperson for Sprint Corporation's long distance service, most notably during their "10-cents-a-minute" promotion.
  • From 1999 until 2002, fellow Emmy-winner, Sela Ward (Sisters), succeeded Candice Bergen when emphasis on long-distance service was discontinued.
  • Over a six-year period, up until the Sprint-Nextel merger in 2005, spokesperson Brian Baker, an actor, appeared as trenchcoated character "The Sprint Guy" in 155 spots.
  • On October 21, 2006 Sprint Nextel announced as part of their new "Power Up" campaign, that they would use actor Ron Livingston as a "Straightforward, relatable guy who finds unconventional ways to talk about Sprint's wireless services." Livingston is best known for his work in the film Office Space and the television series Band of Brothers.
  • In 2007 Stacy London, fashion consultant and co-host of What Not to Wear, partnered with Sprint to launch their "My Mobile Style" website which aimed to help people choose a cell phone based on their personal style. She is quoted as saying "I partnered with Sprint on this project because Sprint understands that your mobile phone is a major reflection of who you are."[43]
  • Since 2007, Sprint has not used a spokesperson in its ads, opting instead for voiceover announcers, or in the case of the "Simply Everything" series of commercials, current chief executive Dan Hesse.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "2010 Form 10-K, Sprint Nextel Corporation". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/101830/000010183011000005/sprint201010k.htm. 
  2. ^ "Sprint Nextel Reports First Quarter 2011 Results". Sprint Nextel Corporation. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9Mzk1MDg5M3xDaGlsZElEPTQyNDA2OHxUeXBlPTI=&t=1. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Guide to cell phone carriers from Consumer Reports". Consumer Reports. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/phones-mobile-devices/cell-phones-services/cell-phone-service-buying-advice/cell-phone-service-cell-phone-services/cell-phone-service-cell-phone-services.htm. Retrieved January 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ Malik, Om (February 28, 2008). "Sprint Writes Down Nextel, Posts $29.5 billion Loss" (in English). Gigaom. p. 1. http://gigaom.com/2008/02/28/sprint-writes-down-nextel-posts-295-billion-loss/. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Harrison, Crayton (February 28, 2008). "Sprint Posts $29.5 billion Loss on Nextel Writedown" (in English). Bloomberg. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=awQZDoY8w00M&refer=home. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ Kansascity.com[dead link]
  7. ^ "Push-to-Talk on New Devices Will Give Sprint Customers More Ways to Get Things Done at SprintSpeed". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=17801. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/FAQs.aspx Cell Phone Program FAQs
  9. ^ Contact Swiftel Communication – Brookings, Watertown and Sioux Falls, SD[dead link]
  10. ^ "Sprint Sets Nextel's Death Date, Toys With LTE". PCMag.com. December 6, 2010. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373908,00.asp#fbid=4XQlAPMpxnI. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  11. ^ Seals, Tara (January 19, 2006). "Sprint to launch 4G in 2008, Integrated Cable Services This Year". Xchangemag.com. http://www.xchangemag.com/tdhotnews/61h19121111.html. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Sprint – Nationwide Coverage". Coverage.sprint.com. http://coverage.sprint.com/IMPACT.jsp. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Sprint News Release". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=11820. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ Alltel news Release[dead link]
  15. ^ "Engadget". Engadgetmobile.com. http://www.engadgetmobile.com/2006/12/18/sprint-users-can-get-their-data-served-verizon-style/. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  16. ^ Linksys.com/Splash/Sprint/Share "Linksys is now available on our Cisco Home Networking website". linksys.com. http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Promotion_C1&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1156806496246&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper Linksys.com/Splash/Sprint/Share. Retrieved November 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ http://www.sprint.com/games
  18. ^ "Nation's First Over-the-Air Song Download Service Celebrates One-Year Anniversary". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=14040. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  19. ^ Forbes.com[dead link]
  20. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (October 8, 2008). "With WiMax, Sprint cuts the cord in Baltimore | Wireless – CNET News". News.cnet.com. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10061520-94.html. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  21. ^ Xohm.com[dead link]
  22. ^ "Engadget.com". Engadget.com. http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/23/htc-evo-4g-is-sprints-android-powered-knight-in-superphone-armo/. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ October 27, 2011 — 8:16am ET (2011-10-27). "Samsung expects to double global LTE market share by 2013". FierceBroadbandWireless. http://www.fiercebroadbandwireless.com/story/samsung-expects-double-global-lte-market-share-2013/2011-10-27?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  24. ^ "Sprint converts its network to LTE, plans 'aggressive rollout' to be completed by 2013". Engadget. 2011-10-07. http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/07/sprint-converts-its-cdma-network-to-lte/. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  25. ^ Paula Bernier (July 15, 2008). "Sprint Moves to 40G with Cisco’s IPoDWDM Solution". Xchangemag.com. http://www.xchangemag.com/hotnews/sprint-40g-cisco-ip-over-dwdm.html. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Sprint Wins More ATLANTIC-ACM Awards than Any US Carrier". Business Wire. April 5, 2011. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110405005255/en/Sprint-Wins-ATLANTIC-ACM-Awards-Carrier. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Sprint's Java Developer Program news release". Netbeans.org. http://www.netbeans.org/about/press/3259.html. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Sprint's Application Developer Home page". Developer.sprint.com. http://developer.sprint.com/site/global/home/p_home.jsp. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Sprint to Acquire Wireless Affiliate US Unwired for $1.3B". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=7300. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Wireless Affiliate Alamosa Holdings on February 1, 2006". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=10040. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Sprint Nextel Acquires Enterprise Communications on January 31, 2006". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=10000. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Velocita Wireless on February 28, 2006". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=10500. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  33. ^ Sprint Nextel Indirect Subsidiary, Velocita Wireless, is acquired by United Wireless Holdings, Inc. on July 2, 2007[dead link]
  34. ^ "Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Nextel Partners on June 26, 2006". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=12460. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Ubiquitel on July 7, 2006". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=12540. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Sprint Nextel Concludes Acquisition of Affiliate Northern PCS". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=17600. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Sprint Nextel To Acquire Virgin Mobile USA". Newsreleases.sprint.com. http://newsreleases.sprint.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=127149&p=irol-newsArticle_newsroom&ID=1312854&highlight=. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Samsung's AIRAVE femtocell for Sprint | Mobile Phones – PhoneHint". Mobilecomment.com. http://www.mobilecomment.com/mobile-phones/samsung/samsungs-airave-femtocell-for-sprint.html. Retrieved March 16, 2010. [dead link]
  39. ^ "Surveillance Shocker: Sprint Received 8 MILLION Law Enforcement Requests for GPS Data in the Past Year". Eff.org. December 1, 2009. http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/12/surveillance-shocker-sprint-received-8-million-law. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  40. ^ "NASCAR's Premier Series To Be Named NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Beginning, July 7, 2007". .Sprint Nextel. http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=17400. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  41. ^ Press release, Sprint to Bring Mobile Ticketing to Monorail, April 4, 2006
  42. ^ NASCAR NEXTEL FanView Named One of the Best Inventions 2006 by TIME Magazine, Sprint press release, November 9, 2006
  43. ^ "Fashion Expert Stacy London Makes Over Mobile". Retrieved March 27, 2009.

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