September 05, 2008

Sprint Customers Able to Stay Connected During Storm

NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 5, 2008--Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today that its networks performed well during Hurricane Gustav and continue to be operational as Sprint technicians work to restore service in the impacted areas by moving in portable generators and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWS) to ensure customers have wireless service.

In addition, many Sprint customers report that their wireless voice and data service remained operational both during and following the storm. Sprint has a partnership with hurricane tracker, Mark Sudduth. Sudduth uses Sprint Mobile Broadband Cards to relay data and live video to his website during hurricanes. "The network performed flawlessly, and I was able to complete my mission of providing important weather data to consumers and news organizations," said Sudduth.

Sprint’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) received dozens of requests from first responders, local government and businesses in the impacted area. Sprint ERT personnel are supporting agencies with additional Nextel Direct Connect(R) Handsets with Direct Connect and Direct Talk(sm) capability. Direct Talk(sm) enabled handsets can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct Talk(sm)-capable handsets over short ranges, completely independent of any wireless network.

"The Sprint ERT has a dedicated staff of 16 full-time employees that are always prepared to assist with disaster relief and recovery efforts, whether it was Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech incident or more recently the San Diego wildfires," says Tanya Lin, operations manager for Sprint ERT. "What we offer is unique and after staging in Pensacola, Texas and Baton Rouge for nine days and providing more than 1,000 phones to more than 50 customers, we are now moving towards Florida and the Carolinas to help with the forthcoming storms in that region."

Another critical resource Sprint provides public sector and first responder teams is the Sprint ERT’s Go-Kit(TM). These kits provide business and first responders immediate access to mobile communications tools for emergencies, including fully-charged cell phones and wireless Broadband cards. These devices have a dedicated hotline for instant activation as needed.

Sprint business customer Winn-Dixie secured Go-Kits from Sprint. "The Sprint Go-Kits provided us with instant communication," said Joey Medina, regional vice president of Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. "The Nextel devices were vital to us as we worked to reopen our stores in the impacted markets. We were able to instantly communicate with each other and our vendors to assess damage and get our stores back up and running to serve our customers."

With Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike pending, Sprint is prepared for potential impacts in North Carolina and Florida. Sprint personnel and resources are being positioned in strategic locations in the southeast and will be ready to move into the impacted markets. During the past two years, Sprint has implemented even more robust strategic preparations, including its own private weather forecast company, additional portable generators, cell sites on wheels and satellite cell trucks. During the first-half of 2007, Sprint spent $59 million in the southeast for hurricane preparedness.

For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit:

Broadcast editors: Broadcast quality video is available of how Nextel Direct Connect calls are routed through the Sprint network, what happens to a wireless network during a mass calling event and the importance of the ERT for emergency communications.

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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 52 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit

    CONTACT: Sprint
             Kristin Wallace, 678-358-1190
             Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806

    SOURCE: Sprint