August 17, 2009

Sprint Prepared for First Hurricane and Tropical Storm of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season

More than $340 million invested in network enhancements for hurricane-prone states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 17, 2009-- Sprint (NYSE:S) today said it is monitoring the performance of its wireless networks following Tropical Storm Claudette’s descent on the Florida Panhandle and making significant preparations for Hurricane Bill, which is projected to become a Category 3 or 4 before making landfall later in the week along the Atlantic coast.

One of the primary reasons for the loss of wireless service in a hurricane is the loss of commercial power to the cell site. In 2007 and 2008, Sprint installed permanent generators at close to 1,100 additional sites in Florida’s hurricane-prone communities and added more than 470 new sites throughout the state to its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National network.

As it does for every impending tropical storm or hurricane, Sprint is staging backup generators and experienced network personnel in strategic locations to manage potential service impacts.

In 2008, Sprint invested more than $340 million in network enhancements for storm-prone states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. This investment included adding new cell sites to the Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National Network, installing hundreds of permanent generators for critical wireless sites and network facilities as well as investment in additional portable generators.

Additionally, between 2005 and 2007, Sprint installed more than 250 hydrogen fuel cells on its network, primarily in hurricane-prone cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These fuel cells provide a much cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators and are activated when service from the local electric utility is disrupted during severe weather or other natural disasters - providing up to 15 hours of back-up power before needing refueling.

Wireless customers are encouraged to take proactive steps before a storm hits. Sprint offers the following consumer tips to prepare for possible landfall:

  • Assemble a hurricane preparedness kit with essential items like bottled water, non-perishable foods, a flashlight, batteries, and first aid supplies, and plan an evacuation route.
  • Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless calls.
  • Invest in a solar-powered SOLIO Mono Hybrid Charger or a car adapter for your wireless phone, which will enable you to recharge the battery during times of commercial power outages. Sprint is the first major U.S. wireless carrier to offer a solar-powered cell phone charger among its line of device accessories.
  • Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage, along with a paper copy of phone numbers that are most critical in case your cell phone is damaged or loses power.
  • Use your Sprint or Nextel camera phone to take digital pictures or video of your property and valuables before the storm hits. Upload the images to your personal pictures inbox on www.sprint.com and you have “before” pictures in the event of any storm damage.
  • Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so remember to send a text message or use Nextel Direct Connect®. Nextel Direct Connect service is the undisputed leader in push-to-talk services, used by first responders across the country for its consistent ability to remain fully operational over any other wireless network, even during crisis events.

Sprint also has a strong track record of providing critical communications and personnel to assist first responders with relief efforts. Sprint’s network and business continuity personnel, and the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) are staging additional Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) and Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS) for possible deployment.

COWs are mobile cell sites that can be deployed in impacted areas to restore service quickly. This equipment provides backup to the networks in the event of power outages or other damage that could result after a hurricane. Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS), the design of which is proprietary to Sprint, are managed by the Sprint ERT and help facilitate communications among disaster relief and emergency response agencies.

For more details about Sprint hurricane preparation efforts, retail store closures, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation. Customers can also follow updates via Twitter at www.twitter.com/sprintnews or www.twitter.com/sprint.

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 wireless networks serving almost 49 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The company’s customer-focused strategy has led to improved first call resolution and customer care satisfaction scores. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

Source: Sprint

Media Contact:
Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806

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