Patty Tikkala, VP Spectrum Management, Sprint
You may have seen online petitions posted by companies Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen regarding the decommissioning of the Clearwire WiMAX network. We believe in straight forward conversations about concerns, so we want to set the record straight here.
Simply put, the reality of this situation is that Sprint is trying to bring a better mobile broadband service to market, not turn it off. We are a customer-centric company and are always looking for ways to improve the products and services we offer customers. The fact is, Sprint has gone to great effort to work with all WiMAX users to transition WiMAX accounts to LTE, for the express purpose of improving the consumer broadband experience. And we have been very successful at transitioning the majority of these accounts.
Sprint works with several EBS (Educational Broadband Service) licensees who use the Clearwire WiMAX network to provide service to education and low income communities. Since April 2014, it has been known by both of these Sprint partners – Mobile Citizen and Mobile Beacon - that Sprint and its subsidiary Clearwire are in the process of transitioning broadband network technology from WiMAX to the more advanced and higher quality LTE. This is part of a massive investment by Sprint to enhance and improve broadband service for consumers. To this end, Sprint has worked very proactively and diligently to transition all affected partners and customers. Sprint gave notice to these licensees in the summer of 2014 regarding the November 2015 decommissioning date -- well over a year ago. And we have continuously publicized this date throughout 2015. In fact, we have already transitioned the vast majority of our other EBS licensee community to the new LTE network successfully, and without any disputes.
With a more cooperative approach, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen could have easily transitioned their end users to the new LTE network months ago. Sprint has gone to great effort to work with Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen to try to complete this transition. But the transition cannot take place without their cooperation. Instead, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen have pursued a litigious strategy rather than engage with Sprint towards resolution. Ironically, while they highlight the charitable mission of some of their customers to make their legal position more sympathetic, their tactics are seemingly risking the interests of these same customers.
Our commitment to help more people get access to mobile connectivity is something we are proud of. Sprint has a strong history of helping lower income communities and organizations bridge the digital divide, and our work in this area continues. In fact, Sprint has made a significant investment to support programs like ConnectED
and ConnectHome that provide help to those who need it.
Sprint also offers Assurance Wireless,
a federal Lifeline Assistance program brought to you by Virgin Mobile. Lifeline Assistance is a government benefit program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund, for which individuals must qualify. Assurance Wireless provides a free phone, along with free monthly minutes and unlimited free texts each month to low-income residents in over 40 states. Assurance Wireless offers are not available in all states/areas and may vary by state.
Sprint wants all of its customers to enjoy the benefits of its advanced LTE broadband network, including Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen’s customers. It is our hope that this commercial dispute will be resolved soon.
Press Kit: Digital Access
- October 22