Sprint Nextel dedicates $115 million to network preparations in coastal communities. Customers can take proactive steps before storms hit.
ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 8, 2007--As residents along the Georgia coast gear up for hurricane season, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) continues its year-round efforts to prepare its network so that critical communications are available to its customers before, during and after a storm. The company offers these preparedness tips:
-- Keep your wireless phone and extra back-up batteries charged if a storm is approaching, but be aware that an interruption of commercial power and wireline service also could affect wireless calls. -- In times of commercial power outages, a car charger for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery. -- Keep extra phones and accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage. In the event of an evacuation, bring your wall charger with you as well. -- Load family emergency numbers into your wireless phone and keep a copy of the numbers in your sealed plastic bag. Make sure those who need it have your wireless number. -- In situations where some portions of the wireless network have been impacted by power outages or damage from a storm, text messages might be able to get through where voice calls can’t.
One of the primary reasons for the loss of wireless service in a hurricane is the loss of commercial power to the cell site. Sprint Nextel has taken significant steps to reduce the effect of power loss on its wireless networks. In 2006 and in the first three months of 2007, Sprint has invested $115 million for hurricane preparations in storm-prone coastal communities. This investment includes the installation of permanent generators for critical wireless sites and network facilities as well as the purchase of additional portable generators and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs.) - mobile cell sites that can be deployed in impacted areas to restore service quickly. This equipment provides back up to the networks in the event of power outages or other damage that often results after a hurricane.
Sprint has targeted several key categories of wireless sites for back-up power, including:
-- High call volume sites -- Sites covering hurricane evacuation routes -- Public safety organizations -- State and local Emergency Operation Centers -- Hospitals and nursing homes -- Major commercial airports and ports -- Government facilities and military bases
The company also invested $27 million in 2006 to expand the scope of the Sprint Nextel Emergency Response Team (ERT) - a team that, when created in 2002, was an industry-first and provides critical communications and personnel to assist first responders with relief efforts. In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, the ERT’s Rapid Deployment Services will deploy additional Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS,) the design of which is proprietary to Sprint Nextel. SatCOLTS help facilitate communications among relief and response agencies. Additional ERT staff members will also be pre-staged in Southern states for any potential disaster response efforts.
By the end of 2006 Sprint had installed permanent generators at more than 1,500 sites in hurricane-prone communities in Florida. In first quarter 2007, Sprint Nextel installed permanent generators at more than 440 sites throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast.
In addition to hurricane preparations, more than $150 million was dedicated to network enhancements and expansion in Georgia and approximately 195 Sprint and Nextel network cell sites have been added in the state in 2006 through the first quarter of 2007.
"Keeping Georgia customers connected in the aftermath of a hurricane is a top priority for Sprint Nextel’s network teams," said Jeff Bennett, area vice president for Sprint. "We know our customers depend on us in an emergency. That’s why we continue to make these investments that increase network redundancy and reliability."
As a standard practice, the company has permanent generators at all of its wireless and wireline switches, the network components where data and calls are routed to their final destination. In addition, permanent generators are installed at all of the company’s network Points of Presence (POP), the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company’s global IP network, which facilitates dedicated data services for Sprint’s corporate and government customers as well as other critical communications. These back-up generators have automatic cutover switches to immediately neutralize any loss of commercial power.
For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts and the ERT, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit: www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving 53.6 million customers at the end of the first quarter 2007; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the securities laws. The statements in this news release regarding the resiliency, capabilities and benefits of our network, including cell sites, switches, generators and other network components, during weather emergencies; plans for the deployment of mobile and permanent generators, switches and other network components; and expected capabilities and benefits of response programs are forward-looking statements. The words "will," "expect," "believe," "intend," "target," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, the availability and performance of components and infrastructure, feasibility of response plans, severity of emergency situations, customer and network usage, the timing of various events and the economic environment.
Sprint Nextel believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. Sprint Nextel is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release. Sprint Nextel provides a detailed discussion of risk factors in periodic SEC filings, including its annual report on Form 10-K for 2006, as amended. You are encouraged to review these filings.
CONTACT: Sprint Nextel Kristin Wallace, 404-649-1625 firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, 310-213-0039 Stephanie.email@example.com SOURCE: Sprint Nextel