February 13, 2006
Sprint and AOL Team to Offer Internet Relay Calls for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community
The AIM Relay Service Lets Users Access the Sprint IP Relay Directly from the AOL or AIM Buddy List Feature on PCs, Mobile Phones and PDAs
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. and DULLES, Va. — 02/13/2006
Sprint (NYSE: S) and AOL today announced the launch of Sprint IP Relay, a new Sprint service that builds on the AIM Relay service that allows individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or who have a speech disability to communicate with any standard or mobile telephone user in the United States via instant messaging.
To use the service, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing send an instant message to the AIM® Screen Name "SprintIP" to contact a Sprint IP Relay Communications Assistant. The Communications Assistant then places a telephone call to the hearing caller and relays the conversation between the two parties, reading the instant messages out loud to the hearing caller and typing the responses back via instant message to the deaf caller. The "SprintIP" Screen Name can be added to the Buddy List® feature as a permanent buddy, and consumers can initiate Sprint IP Relay calls directly through the AOL® and AIM® services.
"We are really excited to launch this new service with AOL to improve the quality of communication for deaf and hard-of-hearing users," said Mike Ligas, director, Sprint Relay. "The Sprint IP Relay service provides a stronger, faster connection combined with the convenience of AOL IM so that deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals have an effective way to communicate with hearing individuals using mobile devices and personal computers."
Under the agreement, the free Sprint IP Relay service integrates with the AIM Relay service to provide individuals with access to complete relay services directly from their personal computer or mobile device.
"We realize the important role that the AOL and AIM services play in the deaf and hard of hearing community as essential communication tools, and we are excited to make them even more valuable through this partnership with Sprint Nextel" said Tom Wlodkowski, Director of Accessibility, America Online, Inc. "Users will appreciate the ease of being able to connect with the Sprint IP Relay service to place calls through the platform of their choice, whether it's sending a mobile instant message from their wireless device or a standard one from their desktop at work."
The Sprint IP Relay service is available from Sprint at no cost to the user. The Sprint IP Relay and AIM Relay services are accessible on the Web through the AIM service (found at http://www.aim.com), and through the Apple® iChat® client. They are available on a wide range of wireless devices and cellular telephones from Sprint Nextel. See http://www.aolmobile.com/sprint for details on relevant PDAs and mobile phones.
Sprint Relay Portfolio of Services
Sprint has more than 15 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf-blind, or who have a speech disability to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint offers relay services through an intelligent platform in 32 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, New Zealand and to the federal government. Sprint's experience in the field provides the assurance that all Sprint Relay services will meet or exceed Federal Communications Commission requirements for telecommunications relay services (TRS). Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. For more information, visit www.sprintrelay.com.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
About the AIM® Service
The AIM® service (http://www.aim.com) is at the center of one of the largest and most dynamic online communities, and is available for use on computers, cell phones and other handheld devices. The AIM service is an integrated communications client that offers instant messaging, email and SMS mobile texting as well as voice and video chat services. Features include a Plaxo®-enabled AIM® Address Book and integrated access to the AOL® Explorer, AOL® Mail, AIM® Mail, AOL® Radio and AIM® Talk services.
About America Online, Inc.
America Online, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate a leading network of Web brands and the largest Internet access subscription service in the United States. Brands include the AOL® service, the AOL.com® website, and the AIM®, MapQuest®, Moviefone®, Netscape®, CompuServe® and ICQ® services. America Online offers a range of digital services including the TotalTalk® voice service. The company also has operations in Canada and Europe. America Online, Inc. is based in Dulles, Virginia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.