Sprint Nextel Invested $59 Million in Network Preparations in Coastal Communities Millions of Customers and First Responders Rely on Nextel Direct Connect
COLUMBIA, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 13, 2008--As South Carolina residents gear up for hurricane season, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) continues to harden its networks so that critical communications are available to its customers before, during and after a storm.
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 continues to take steps to reduce the effect of power loss on its wireless networks. In 2007, Sprint invested $59 million for hurricane preparations in storm-prone coastal communities. This investment included the installation of permanent generators for critical wireless sites and network facilities as well as investment in 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 backup to the networks in the event of power outages or other damage that could result after a hurricane.
Sprint continues to target several key categories of wireless sites for backup 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
In 2007, Sprint installed permanent generators at more than 1,300 sites in hurricane-prone communities throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast, including South Carolina. Sprint also added more than 40 new sites throughout the state of South Carolina to its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National network in 2007.
"Customer service and network reliability are top priorities at Sprint," said Richard Blanc, regional vice president, field engineering and operations for the South Region. "Customers depend on us, and we’re committed to network redundancy and reliability to support our customers and first responders, especially in hurricane-prone communities along the southeast corridor."
As a standard practice, Sprint Nextel 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 backup generators have automatic cutover switches to immediately neutralize any loss of commercial power.
In addition to hurricane preparations in the Southeast and Gulf Coast, Sprint invested approximately $6.5 billion in capital in 2007 largely to enhance its networks nationwide. Sprint is also the undisputed leader in push-to-talk services, used by first responders across the country for its consistent ability to remain fully operational even during crisis events. Nextel Direct Connect services set the industry standard for push-to-talk worldwide, serving the world’s largest push-to-talk community with millions of Nextel Direct Connect subscribers on the fastest national push-to-talk network. These subscribers made more than 90 billion Direct Connect connections in 2007.
Sprint has the largest portfolio of Nextel Direct Connect devices, including the largest selection of rugged phones certified to military standard 810F for dust, shock and vibration, useful for first-responders in emergencies.
Nextel Direct Connect services are critical for reliable disaster response:
- Select Sprint’s Nextel(R) Direct Connect services do not rely entirely on the public switched telephone network (PSTN); Nextel Direct Connect service on select devices has remained fully operational during past crises when there have been issues with the PSTN.
- Direct Talk(sm)- enabled phones, used by public sector customers, can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct Talk-capable phones handset-to-handset, independent of any wireless network, for short range communications. Ideal for remote locations or situations where network service is not available, Direct Talk has proven invaluable during past disaster response efforts.
- Priority Services offered on select Nextel Direct Connect capable phones provide higher queuing for voice and Direct Connect calls for eligible public sector subscribers, such as emergency responders, in times of network congestion. During times of crisis, these services help ensure that emergency personnel are able to communicate when they need to most.
Sprint has a strong track record of providing critical communications and personnel to assist first responders with relief efforts. In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, Sprint’s network and business continuity teams 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 network team members will also be pre-staged in hurricane-prone states for any potential disaster response efforts.
Customers can take proactive steps before storms hit. For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts, 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 wireless networks serving nearly 53 million customers at the end of the first quarter 2008; 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 2007, as amended. You are encouraged to review these filings.
CONTACT: Sprint Nextel Kristin Wallace, 404-649-1625 Kristin.firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, 310-213-0039 Stephanie.email@example.com
SOURCE: Sprint Nextel