April 25, 2008

Houston, Phoenix, Orlando and Norfolk, Va., markets finalize switchover at 2GHz as momentum continues to grow

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2008--Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) today announced that the transition of Broadcast Auxiliary Services (BAS) facilities from the 1990-2025 MHz spectrum band has been successfully completed in the Houston, Phoenix, Orlando and Norfolk, Va. markets. Including these four top 50 markets, the transition has now been completed for 67 stations in 19 markets covering a population of approximately 25 million people.

"The BAS transition continues to make significant progress," said Michael Degitz, vice president of spectrum for Sprint. "The pace of the transition is accelerating, thanks to the combined and ongoing efforts of all those involved, including the broadcasters, manufacturers, installers and Sprint."

"The transition went very smoothly," said Richard Monn, chief engineer at WESH in Orlando. "We had great communication and cooperation among the stations and there were no surprises. What was supposed to happen did happen."

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has licensed Sprint to use a portion of the 2GHz spectrum that broadcasters currently use to send and receive news from the field. Sprint and two satellite companies that also will receive BAS spectrum are responsible for paying for new equipment and reimbursing broadcasters for the costs of moving to their new spectrum. To facilitate the transition, Sprint and the broadcasters are working with equipment vendors and contractors to design, build and install new BAS equipment such as transmitters, receivers and antennas before broadcasters switch operations to their new spectrum. In total, the transition involves more than a thousand BAS licensees across the country - many with older, complicated and highly customized systems that make the transition extremely complex.

"It’s been a lot of work and I’m glad it’s done, but overall it’s a good deal," said Frank Torbert, Chief Engineer at WKMG in Orlando. "I am very pleased that it turned out as well as it did. The new equipment is a thousand times easier to work with and we have better coverage, fewer issues and more flexibility."

"The key is to communicate early and often, try out the equipment and test it in the new band," Monn said. "The change-over day is not the time to find out something doesn’t work or a station isn’t ready."

By all measures, the 2GHz transition is showing significant progress and momentum:

  • Other markets that have recently switched to their new spectrum include Tucson, Ariz., Richmond, Va., Gainesville, Fla., and Beaumont, Laredo, and Victoria, Texas.
  • BAS licensees have finalized and received approval of "quote packages" for new equipment for nearly 90 percent of primary facilities to be relocated.
  • More than 77 percent of the necessary frequency relocation agreements for primary BAS facilities are signed.
  • BAS licensees have submitted more than 71 percent of the purchase orders to manufacturers for such facilities.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of all BAS licensee equipment orders have been fulfilled and 14 percent of BAS licensees have completely installed their equipment.

For more information on the 2GHz transition, go to www.2GHzRelocation.com.

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 approximately 54 million customers at the end of 2007; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

CONTACT: Sprint Nextel
Scott Sloat, 301-951-2816

SOURCE: Sprint Nextel