HOUSTON, Sep 19, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) announced today that its networks continue to be operational following Hurricane Ike 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.
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(R) and Direct Talksm capability. Direct Talksm enabled handsets can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct Talksm-capable handsets completely independent of any wireless network.
"We have deployed 15 Nextel Direct Connect(R) devices into the field to key officers and school administrators, and they are already proving to be more reliable and dependable in most areas as we make key safety decisions and work through the recovery process," said Alan Bragg, chief of police, Spring Independent School District Police Department, Harris County, Texas. "We have utilized the devices in many locations and have obtained excellent communications results."
Another critical resource Sprint provides public sector, enterprise and first responder teams is the Sprint ERT Go-Kit. These kits provide immediate access to mobile communications tools for emergencies, including fully-charged cell phones and wireless broadband cards. The devices have a dedicated hotline for instant activation as needed.
"Immediate response to critical wireless communication needs. That’s the best way to describe Sprint’s Emergency Response Team," said City Councilman Jamie Smith of Beaumont, Texas. "One of Sprint’s employees was gracious enough to travel from Beaumont to Houston and back today to give our residents access to cell phones, wireless Broadband cards, and help these victims of Hurricane Ike stay connected to loved ones and information that they need the most."
Sprint Foundation and Employees Contribute Approximately $480,000 for Disaster Relief Efforts
From donated wireless phones and pre-paid calling cards, to cash contributions, Sprint Nextel, its foundation and employees have contributed cash and in-kind donations worth approximately $480,000 for the individuals impacted by Hurricane Ike. Contributions to the American Red Cross (ARC) include:
- A $100,000 grant to the ARC Disaster Relief Fund from the Sprint
- 15,000 domestic calling cards worth over $220,000 to the National and
Houston chapter of the ARC;
- An estimated $30,000 in employee contributions and company matching
- 250 wireless phones worth over $130,000 from Sprint’s ERT.
Sprint customers also can text message the word "give" to short code 24357 to make a $5 donation to the American Red Cross. The donation will be billed on the customer’s wireless phone bill. Standard text-messaging rates will apply.
Additionally, Sprint continues to work with customers in the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Ike on their service needs.
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 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 www.sprint.com.
SOURCE: Sprint Nextel
Kristin Wallace, 678-358-1190
Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806