February 14, 2011

Actor Idris Elba Joins 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge Sponsored by Sprint

Connecting 4G technology and filmmaking, the short film competition college tour kicks off this month as part of Black History Month

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), February 14, 2011 - Sprint (NYSE: S), along with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and Wells Fargo, announces Golden Globe nominee Idris Elba as the official ambassador for the 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge, a competition that calls on college students to shoot a short film with a smartphone. The short film is designed to illustrate how the ease and services of Sprint 4G gives students a competitive edge.

“We are thrilled to have an acclaimed actor such as Idris to inspire young filmmakers with this competition,” said Matt Carter, president of Sprint 4G and Wholesale. “Idris’ work is a prime example of how technology can fuel the creative process and result in a vibrant on-screen experience. Together, we’re challenging students to push the boundaries of traditional filmmaking by harnessing the power of Sprint 4G’s vast portfolio of devices and applications to redefine the medium and develop their artistry.”

According to a recent independent survey of cell phone users, African-Americans make up 33 percent of all smartphone consumers in the United States, although they constitute only 13 percent of the population.* The 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge offers diverse students a chance to demonstrate their creativity using the cutting-edge technology of smartphone devices.

Elba, the official ambassador for the competition, was first introduced to the public by his role as Russell “Stringer” Bell on the acclaimed HBO series “The Wire.” Elba was most recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the BBC America’s drama “Luther.” His other works include films such as “Takers,” “Obsessed” and “Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls.” He is currently the executive producer and star of the art house thriller “Legacy.”

As part of the competition, Sprint, along with Wells Fargo, will launch a college tour to visit several historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) around the country throughout the month of February. The tour will head to TMCF member institutions including Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Virginia Union University and Shaw University. The tour will conclude at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., just in time for the CIAA Tournament. Elba will join Sprint, TMCF and Wells Fargo to announce the winners at Howard University in April. A list of tour dates and schools can be found at www.4GCompetitiveEdge.com.

“Our 47 public HBCU campuses are home to 235,000 students and present a truly unique pool of talent for Sprint, Wells Fargo and Idris Elba to find the most talented young minds,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “The 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge is a pairing of the arts and technology that distinctly aligns with the type of innovation and ingenuity we are cultivating in the next generation of leaders.”

At each tour stop, students will have the opportunity to attend the Wells Fargo Empowerment Panel to receive insider tips about financial fitness and entrepreneurship. Panelists will give fresh insights on the elements necessary for a successful career whether behind or in front of the camera via the newest technology. Following the panel discussion, students will have the opportunity to screen Elba’s feature film, “Legacy.” Students will also be able to experience various Sprint 4G devices, including the new HTC EVO Shift™ 4G as well as the popular HTC EVO™ 4G and Samsung Epic™ 4G.

The 4G Competitive Edge Short Film Competition launched in December 2010 and is open until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 4, 2011. Two selected winners of the competition will get a trip to Los Angeles to spend a day on a movie set with Elba, dine with a Sprint executive and receive $2,500 to jump-start their careers.

For complete information about the contest, including college tour dates, contest rules and eligibility, visit www.4GCompetitiveEdge.com. On the site, participants can also find resources such as expert chats, podcasts and how-to guides. The public can also visit the site to view and vote for the best short films.

Follow along on Facebook at: Sprint, Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Idris Elba, or on Twitter at: @sprint, @tmcf_hbcu and @idriselba.

Sprint has been a leader in 4G wireless technology since launching its first 4G market in Baltimore in October 2008. Sprint 4G is in 71 markets across the nation and offers a growing 4G device portfolio. Sprint 4G service plans are available at Sprint retail stores, through Sprint telesales at 1-800-Sprint-1 or online at www.sprint.com/4G.

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 served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About The Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc. (TMCF), named after the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in 22 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands with a population of 235,000 students. By the end of 2009 the Thurgood Marshall College Fund had awarded more than $100 million in leadership development, programmatic and capacity building support, and scholarships to students attending member schools. Scholarships have enabled over 12,000 students to attend public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thurgood Marshall College Fund is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization and has a “Four Star” rating by Charity Navigator (“Your Guide to Intelligent Giving”).

* According to the 2010 U.S. Census estimates


Heather Wong, 949-748-3416
Miles Ahead Entertainment
Sheila Eldridge, 201-722-1500

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