Sprint Invested More Than $370 Million in 2009 to Enhance Its Wireless Networks in Hurricane-Prone States along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts

September 01, 2010

WILMINGTON, N.C. (BUSINESS WIRE), September 01, 2010 - As the National Hurricane Center has declared a hurricane warning for the East Coast of the United States, Sprint (NYSE:S) today said it is prepared for the potential impacts of Hurricane Earl. As it does for every impending tropical storm or hurricane, Sprint is staging backup generators, network engineers, emergency personnel and other critical assets in strategic locations along the Atlantic Coast to manage potential service impacts.

In 2009, Sprint invested more than $370 million in network enhancements for hurricane-prone states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. These investments 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.

As a standard practice, Sprint has permanent generators at all of its wireless and wireline switches – the network components where wireless 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.

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, along with 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) are managed by the Sprint ERT and help facilitate wireless and IP communications among disaster relief and emergency response agencies.

Sprint ERT maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, to rapidly address client needs and, during times of state- and federally declared national disasters, provides 25 mobile devices and wireless service free of charge for 14 days to state and local agencies.

To enhance their on-the-ground communications during major hurricanes, first responders can use Nextel Direct Connect® Blackberry® devices with Direct Connect® and Direct TalkSM capabilities. Direct Talk-enabled handsets can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct Talk-capable handsets, completely independent of any wireless network – a critical feature for public safety personnel during emergency response situations.

Additionally, as part of its ongoing work with weather data and hurricane forecasting expert Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack.com, Sprint has supplied his team with Sprint 3G and 4G mobile phones and broadband devices to give them fast and reliable mobile Internet connectivity during their online and video reporting this hurricane season. Sudduth is based in Wilmington, N.C., and has reported on more than 30 named tropical storms and hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast since 1998.

Customers can take proactive steps before a storm hits. Sprint offers the following consumer tips to prepare for a possible landfall:

  • Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless calls.
  • If possible, get extra batteries and charge them.
  • In times of commercial power outages, a car adapter for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery.
  • Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage.
  • Load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone.
  • Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so remember to use Nextel Direct Connect® or to send text messages.

Sprint customers can also use their mobile phones to obtain important information during a crisis situation by accessing a series of emergency mobile apps, such as:

  • In Case of Emergency (ICE) - Available in the Android Market and BlackBerry App World, this app provides EMTs with critical personal and medical data including name, important notification telephone numbers, blood type, allergies, physician’s name and number, and existing medical conditions.
  • First Aid - This app offers concise, clear instructions to offer first aid. It includes illustrations, videos and short texts that show how to take the necessary action in the correct order. Available in Android Market.
  • Medical Spanish - AUDIO - Available for Android phones like Sprint’s HTC Hero(TM) and Samsung Moment(TM) and for BlackBerry smartphones, the Emergency Medical Spanish Guide (EMSG) is a tool designed for non-Spanish speaking health care professionals to quickly ascertain vital medical information from their Spanish-speaking patients.
  • Droid 911 - HTC Hero and Samsung Moment users can use Droid 911 to find the nearest police stations, fire stations, hospitals, tow trucks, auto repair shops, gas stations and ATM machines, based on your location. Available in Android Market.

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 served more than 48.1 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. With its customer-focused strategy, you can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.


Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806
John Taylor, 571-437-4685