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Sprint Nextel Corporation
Type Public (NYSES)
Founded Abilene, Kansas, U.S. (1898)
Founder(s) Cleyson Brown (Sprint)
Morgan O'Brien (Nextel)
Headquarters Overland Park, Kansas
Area served United States and worldwide
Key people James Hance, chairman
Dan Hesse, chief executive
Industry Telecommunications
Services Mobile phone services
Internet carrier
Revenue US$32.26 billion (2009)[1]
Operating income US$ -2.80 billion (2009)[1]
Net income US$1.78 billion (2009)[1]
Website sprint.com
[2][3]

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSES) is a telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. The company owns and operates the third largest wireless telecommunications network in United States, with 48.1 million customers,[1] behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

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 created in 2005 by the purchase of Nextel Communications by Sprint Corporation. The company continues to operate using two separate wireless network technologies, CDMA (for Sprint and Virgin Mobile subscribers) and iDEN (for Nextel and most Boost Mobile subscribers). In 2009, Sprint reached an agreement to outsource management of its wireless networks to Ericsson.[4]

In 2006, the company spun off its local landline telephone business, naming it Embarq (which was subsequently acquired by CenturyTel).

Contents

History

United Telecom

The original Sprint logo was used from 1989 to 2005; 4th variant used from 1995-2005.

The core of the present day Sprint-Nextel Corporation was founded in 1898 by Cleyson Leroy Brown and Carlos Florendo, Jr. under the name of the Brown Telephone Company, in the small town of Abilene, Kansas. Brown Telephone was a landline telephone company operating as a competitor to the Bell System.[5]

In 1938, after emerging from bankruptcy, Brown changed its name to United Utilities. The company grew steadily through acquisitions and, in 1972, changed its name to United Telecommunications, at which time it provided local telephone service in many areas of the Midwest and South. United Telecom also operated many other types of business.

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 lab, on Adrian Ct.)

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, 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 Southern Pacific Railroad Intelligent Network of Telecommunications.

The Sprint service was first marketed to six metropolitan areas: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego and Anaheim. 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. The customer was then billed at 2.6 cents per tenth of a minute increment.

In 1982 SPC became part of GTE under the name GTE Sprint. GTE had previously acquired a national X.25 provider, Telenet, in 1979.

Consolidation and re-branding

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.

Sprint world headquarters campus designed by RMJM Hillier in Overland Park, Kansas.

In 1989 United Telecom purchased a controlling interest, and in 1991 completed its acquisition of US Sprint. The same year United Telecom changed its name to Sprint, 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 PCS spectrum, via Sprint Spectrum (a joint venture between Sprint and several cable companies). Later in 1995, the company began to offer wireless service under the Sprint PCS brand in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area; this was the very first PCS-based wireless network in the Americas. Although the current Sprint PCS service is CDMA, the original Washington area network used GSM. Eventually Sprint converted that network to CDMA, then in 1999 sold the GSM infrastructure to Omnipoint (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

Former Nextel Communications logo, current Nextel-branded services logo.

NEXTEL was founded as FleetCall in 1987 by Morgan E. O' Brien, a Washington, DC, communications attorney, and Brian D. McAuley and 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 Communications was formerly traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker "NXTL". It was a Fortune 500 company.

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 in NII; however, NII still markets under the Nextel brand name. NII currently operates in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Chile.

Merger of Sprint and NEXTEL

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 US 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 US 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 close. 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. Only a few key Nextel executives remained two years after the merger, and many former Nextel middle and upper-level managers left citing numerous reasons including a huge cultural difference between the two companies.

Sprint Nextel today

Sprint Nextel currently offers cellular phone service under its Sprint and Nextel brands. It is also a provider of a Tier 1 Internet service provider[citation needed] under the name SprintLink.

Sprint Nextel also offers pre-paid services through Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA—Virgin Mobile USA also includes Helio. Sprint Nextel also provides wholesales capacity on its PCS wireless network to mobile virtual network operators.

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile also operate on both the Sprint CDMA and the iDEN networks; however, Boost and Virgin Mobile are not an MVNO, but rather wholly-owned prepaid divisions of Sprint Nextel.

Recent financial performance

In 2008, Sprint wrote off losses of $29.76 billion resulting from impairment of the company's goodwill. Sprint has also struggled to reduce its customer churn rate which is one of the highest in the industry.[citation needed]

Return to Overland Park

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 PCS

The main wireless brand of Sprint Nextel is Sprint PCS, which was also the main brand of the former 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

Sprint's current Nextel logo

Nextel is 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]

Embarq

Sprint Nextel spun off its local telephone division (LTD) into a fully separate company on May 17, 2006 officially named Embarq Corporation, headquartered in Overland Park, KS.

On October 27, 2008, EMBARQ announced that it would be acquired by Monroe, Louisiana-based CenturyTel, Inc. in an all-stock transaction valued at $11.6 billion, including the assumption of $5.8 billion in EMBARQ's debt. CenturyTel's CEO Glen Post will be CEO of the combined companies. On June 2, 2009, CenturyTel and Embarq announced that the combined entity would be called CenturyLink.[8] The acquisition was completed on July 1, 2009.[9] It is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol of (NYSE:CTL).

Quadruple Play

On November 2, 2005, Sprint Nextel and a coalition of US-based Cable television providers announced a partnership where cable TV customers would be able to bundle their Sprint or Nextel cell phones with either their Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications or Advance/Newhouse Communications cable bills. In addition the group of Cable companies agreed to their intention to develop products with Sprint Nextel where users would be able to initiate advanced features like control their Digital Video Recorder (DVRs) by cell phone; this service is called Pivot.[10]

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 & Sprint Rural Alliance

CDMA Affiliates: Swiftel in Brookings, South Dakota;[11] 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 sell 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).

Branding

Sprint Nextel's Current Logo. Introduced in 2005.

The new logo of the Sprint Nextel Corporation was one of the first attempts at seamlessly meshing the initial brands of both the Sprint Corporation and Nextel Communications. The logo is a blend of the former Sprint "pin drop" marketing image as well as the colors of Nextel's bright yellow and black logo design with its cellular service level bars that, in past marketing, would get "typed" from a single vertical black line.[12] The company also continues to reinforce the idea of a combination of brand strengths on several levels of marketing including a voiceover exclaiming "Sprint, Together with Nextel" or "Nextel, only from Sprint".

Sprint's 3G Network (Vision/Power Vision network)

The Sprint PCS 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.[13] By the end of 2007, Sprint had fully rolled out their EV-DO Rev A network-wide. Sprint Nextel had spent almost 7 billion dollars in 2006 to improve its network.[14]

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 41 states in the US.

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 $30.00 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.

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 2.4 Mbit/s. Also like Verizon, Sprint restricts their customers on their EV-DO/1xRTT network by capping their customer's maximum data usage at 5 GB (300 MB while roaming), any data used over this is charged at $0.05 per MB. Only customers subscribed to aircard and phone-as-modem plans are subject to this cap. Customers with standard powervision plans still have truly unlimited data access. Sprint at one time capped users at 5 GB but allowed no charge overage during the transition to overage charge plans, reserving the right to terminate service on any customer exceeding the 5 GB amount.[15]

Sprint's data roaming agreements

On May 9, 2006, Sprint Nextel and Alltel agreed on a new Nationwide Roaming partnership.[16][17] The new roaming agreement is for both voice and (1x & EV-DO) data roaming coverage. This new partnership is different from Alltel's voice-only roaming agreement with Verizon Wireless in that it is reciprocal, meaning customers from both companies get to roam on to each other's networks, giving Alltel customers access to Sprint's 1x & EV-DO network, and Sprint customers access to Alltel's denser rural 1x & EV-DO voice and data coverage. This agreement represents the first of its kind between US wireless carriers.

Sprint and Verizon Wireless agreed on a data roaming agreement.[18] This agreement is reciprocal, just like the Sprint-Alltel data roaming agreement that has already been effect. This data roaming even allows for the use of Sprint Power Vision's content like TV, movie downloads, and stream radio in Verizon's CDMA 1x parts of the nation.

Additionally, Sprint and US Cellular have a data (1xRTT) and voice roaming agreement.

Broadband for the home via Sprint Mobile

In a play to offer broadband directly to the home, Sprint launched a co-branded Broadband[19] 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 US-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, 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.[20] 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's 4G Network

Sprint is currently rolling out its flavor of 4G by utilizing WiMAX technology. It will allow customers to access cable broadband-like speeds wirelessly. The rollout is expected to reach 100 metropolitan areas and 100 million people by the end of 2009. 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, Intel, Google, and Bright House will invest $3.2 billion and own the balance.[21] The new firm will retain the "Clearwire" brand and will sell WiMAX mobile broadband to Sprint as an MVNO.

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.[22]

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. [23]

SprintLink

SprintLink is a global Tier 1[citation needed] 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.[24]

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.[25][26]

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.[27]
  • 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.[28]
  • 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.[29]
  • December 16, 2005: Sprint Nextel announces acquisition of non-affiliate Velocita Wireless. The transaction will enhance the iDEN network's 900 MHz spectrum position.[30] On July 2, 2007 Velocita Wireless, which became an indirect subsidiary of Sprint Nextel was acquired by United Wireless Holdings, Inc.[31]
  • 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.[32]
  • 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.[33]
  • 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.[34]
  • 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.[35]
  • October 19, 2009: Sprint Nextel agrees to acquire iPCS, one of its last remaining affiliates.

Airave

On September 17, 2007, Sprint Nextel Corp. launched the Airave, which was initially sold in its stores in Denver, Indianapolis, and Nashville. On August 18, 2008, the Airave unit was launched nationwide in all Sprint non-affiliate markets. Airave increases cell reception over an area of 5,000 square feet and can handle up to 3 calls at once. It hooks into the customer's existing broadband connection, sending unlimited calls through the Internet using VOIP. The Airave box retails for $100 and users pay a monthly charge of $5 using their plan minutes or unlimited for $10.00 for individuals and $20.00 for families. Airave helps eliminate the obstacles of poor signal quality inside buildings.

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.[36]

Samsung Instinct (Samsung M800)

Samsung Instinct launched officially on June 20, 2008, became the best selling Sprint phone in company's history. Best Buy reported that the Samsung Instinct became Best Buy's best selling cellphone in two years.[37] Best Buy additionally mentioned that the Instinct is "selling comparably to the Motorola RAZR during the holiday period of 2006."[38] As of today, it is uncertain to say exactly how many of the Samsung Instincts have been sold across all of Sprint's sales channels.

Environmental record

Sprint is working to incorporate renewable energy sources into its network, and ultimately contribute to reducing its carbon footprint. This is also reflected in Sprint's partnership in the EPA's Climate Leaders program, an industry-government partnership aimed at developing long-term comprehensive corporate climate-change strategies.[citation needed]

The alternate energy sources Sprint is working with are wind power, hydrogen fuel cells, and photovoltaic power. Hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as an alternative to traditional backup power sources, such as lead-acid batteries and noisy diesel generators. The upcoming installation of a wind turbine on Sprint's Overland Park, Kan., campus, will allow testing of wind as a potential power source for cell sites and other network uses. Sprint is also testing geothermal cooling at select cell sites, as well as the use of flow batteries.[39]

Sprint agreed to purchase up to 75 percent of its power for its 300-acre (1.2 km2) corporate headquarters from the Kansas City Power & Light Wind Farm. Annually, this amounts to approximately 87,600,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.[40]

This purchase represents a reduction of almost 80,000 thousand tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. Sprint contributed $500,000 to The Nature Conservancy's U.S. Adopt an Acre program.

Controversy

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.[41] The disclosures occurred by way of a special portal which Sprint developed specifically for government officials, which enables users to automatically obtain Sprint customer GPS locations without submitting surveillance warrants.

Major sponsorships

  • 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.[42]
  • Sprint Nextel is one of the corporate sponsors of the Las Vegas Monorail. Wireless customers are able to purchase tickets for the Las Vegas Monorail from their wireless phones under a system known as Mobile Ticketing.[43]
  • 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 for free.
  • Sprint cellphones were used from a product positioning point from movies such as Eagle Eye, 27 Dresses, Wild Hogs, Bride Wars, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Transformers 2, Dan in Real Life, Spiderwick Chronicles, Superbad (Boost Mobile phones), and 12 Rounds.
  • Sprint is a major sponsor of the television show Heroes on NBC and provide exclusive web content to subscribers.
  • Sprint Nextel is the official wireless sponsor of Regal Cinemas, which reminds movie patrons to silence their cellphones before the feature presentation.
  • Sprint is a major sponsor of competition reality shows such as Survivor and Big Brother on CBS, offering viewers to vote each week for "Player of the Game." Viewers can text a vote for their choice contestant, and a randomly selected participant who voted for the most popular player wins a cash prize.
  • Sprint is a sponsor of the television show 24 (TV Series) on Fox and provides exclusive content to its cell phone subscribers

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. [44] The NASCAR FanView is a portable PDA device 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

Actress Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) served as spokesperson for Sprint Corporation's long distance service from October 1990 through September 1998, most notably during their "10-cents-a-minute" promotion. She was succeeded by fellow Emmy-winner Sela Ward (Sisters) from 1999 until 2002, when emphasis on long-distance service was discontinued.

Spokesperson Brian Baker, an actor, appeared as trenchcoated character "The Sprint Guy" in 155 spots over a six year period, up until the Sprint-Nextel merger in 2005.

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."[45]

Since 2007, the use of a spokesperson on Sprint ads has been absent, opting for voiceover announcers, or in the case of the "Simply Everything" series of commercials announcement, current chief executive Dan Hesse.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Sprint Nextel Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2009 Results
  2. ^ "Milestone Events Making Sprint History: 1899 - 1989". Sprint Nextel. http://www.sprint.com/companyinfo/history/. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Sprint Nextel Corporation". Google Finance. http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NYSE:S. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  4. ^ Dignan, Larry (2009-07-10). "Sprint outsources network to Ericsson". CNET. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10283799-94.html. Retrieved 2009-07-25. "Ericsson will now handle all the day-to-day operations and maintenance. The transfer of the network and the employees that go with them is set to happen by the end of the third quarter. ... Sprint didn't disclose exact numbers on savings." 
  5. ^ UNITED TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC. - Company History
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Push-to-Talk on New Devices Will Give Sprint Customers More Ways to Get Things Done at SprintSpeed
  8. ^ "CenturyTel and EMBARQ announce name and logo of combined company". CenturyTel. 2009-02-06. http://www.centurytelembarqmerger.com/pdf/pressreleases/Brand_news_release_6_2_09.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  9. ^ "CenturyTel and EMBARQ Complete Merger". CenturyTel. 2009-07-01. http://ir.centurytel.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=112635&p=irol-newsArticle_Print&ID=1303691&highlight=. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  10. ^ John Garcia Named President of Nationwide Cable Joint Venture
  11. ^ Contact Swiftel Communication - Brookings, Watertown and Sioux Falls, SD
  12. ^ Sprint And Nextel Announce New Branding, Logo To Be Used By Combined Company
  13. ^ print to Launch 4G in 2008, Integrated Cable Services This Year
  14. ^ Sprint.com
  15. ^ Sprint falls in line, caps "unlimited" data at 5GB - Engadget Mobile
  16. ^ Sprint News Release
  17. ^ Alltel news Release
  18. ^ Engadget
  19. ^ Linksys.com/Splash/Sprint/Share your Mobile Broadband Internet Connection
  20. ^ Nation's First Over-the-Air Song Download Service Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (2008-10-08). "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 2010-03-16. 
  23. ^ http://www.xohm.com/en_US/about/news-events/press-release/press-release-20090106.html
  24. ^ Paula Bernier (2008-07-15). "Sprint Moves to 40G with Cisco’s IPoDWDM Solution". Xchangemag.com. http://www.xchangemag.com/hotnews/sprint-40g-cisco-ip-over-dwdm.html. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  25. ^ Sprint's Java Developer Program news release
  26. ^ Sprint's Application Developer Home page
  27. ^ Sprint to Acquire Wireless Affiliate US Unwired for $1.3B
  28. ^ Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Wireless Affiliate Alamosa Holdings on February 1, 2006
  29. ^ Sprint Nextel Acquires Enterprise Communications on January 31, 2006
  30. ^ Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Velocita Wireless on February 28, 2006
  31. ^ Sprint Nextel Indirect Subsidiary, Velocita Wireless, is acquired by United Wireless Holdings, Inc. on July 2, 2007
  32. ^ Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Nextel Partners on June 26, 2006
  33. ^ Sprint Nextel Completes Acquisition of Ubiquitel on July 7, 2006
  34. ^ Sprint Nextel Concludes Acquisition of Affiliate Northern PCS
  35. ^ Sprint Nextel To Acquire Virgin Mobile USA
  36. ^ "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 2010-03-16. 
  37. ^ Best Buy Says Samsung Instinct Sets Sales Records - I4U News
  38. ^ Sprint's Samsung Instinct Is Selling As Briskly As The Razr Two Years Ago - washingtonpost.com
  39. ^ Sprint
  40. ^ Sprint
  41. ^ Surveillance Shocker: Sprint Received 8 MILLION Law Enforcement Requests for GPS Data in the Past Year
  42. ^ NASCAR's Premier Series To Be Named NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Beginning, Jul 7 2007
  43. ^ Press release, Sprint to Bring Mobile Ticketing to Monorail, Apr 4 2006
  44. ^ NASCAR NEXTEL FanView Named One of the Best Inventions 2006 by TIME Magazine, Sprint press release, Nov 9 2006
  45. ^ "Fashion Expert Stacy London Makes Over Mobile". Retrieved 2009-03-27.

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