Connectivity and innovation make the grid smarter

October 18, 2010

WASHINGTON (BUSINESS WIRE), October 18, 2010 - The electric utility industry is transforming the way it operates. A significant part of that change is to make the electric grid smarter by overlaying a communications system linking generators, distributors and consumers.

Sprint (NYSE: S) is playing an integral role in upgrading our nation’s electric infrastructure as it continues to build a smart grid portfolio of solutions that optimize grid performance. Today at GridWeek in Washington, D.C. Sprint announced that Itron Inc. (NASDAQ: ITRI) and Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG) have received Sprint network certification. Itron’s history of technology leadership in utility solutions, including the OpenWay smart metering and data management solution, along with Ambient’s flexible smart grid communication architecture and Sprint’s network assets, bring the smart grid promise one step closer.

In recent weeks, Sprint announced agreements with SmartSynch, Inc., Grid Net and Landis+Gyr that will help utilities enhance network reliability, optimize service delivery, introduce renewable energy resources and enable the consumer in their energy consumption.

  • SmartSynch and Sprint collaborated to introduce an advanced, electronic residential utility meter. This smart meter allows utilities to automate their electric grid, enabling cost-effective automated metering infrastructure and demand response while utilizing the Nationwide Sprint Network.
  • Grid Net is working with Sprint to deliver a smart grid solution that leverages Grid Net’s software platforms to connect smart meters and smart grid routers via the Sprint 4G network. Grid Net software platforms are designed to integrate substation automation, distribution automation, smart meters, demand response and load management while reducing capital and operating costs.
  • Landis+Gyr qualified the Sprint 4G network as a compatible communications vehicle to interface with Gridstream™, an integrated energy management solution.

“Making the electric grid more efficient is not something the average person thinks about, but Sprint does,” said Tim Donahue, vice president-Industry Solutions, Sprint. “Optimizing the grid is essential to our energy future. Sprint has a dedicated team to work with utilities to develop smart grid solutions. We have a long history serving the utility industry, beginning with Nextel Direct Connect, iDEN telemetry and supervisory control and data applications. We are working with our partners and customers to deliver the smart grid vision, energy management services and eco-friendly energy technologies.”

The utility industry is recognizing the advantages of public wireless networks and is working with Sprint to utilize both 3G and 4G technologies. Use of public carriers guarantees the latest network technology and mitigates the risk of network obsolescence and stranded asset deployment. Public wireless networks continue to evolve in coverage, reliability and cost-effective communication. Sprint’s high-speed 4G network provides peak download speeds of over 10 Mbps and average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps. It has been serving customers since 2008 and is available today to customers in 55 markets in cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle. The Sprint 3G network is proven and reliable technology so utilities can be confident in their ability to stay connected with their customers. It reaches more than 277 million people in 19,300 cities, inclusive of roaming. In addition, Sprint’s Tier-1 Global IP Network is a critical asset for utilities and application developers.

“As a public wireless carrier, Sprint offers a scalable and flexible network solutions for utilities and application developers in support of Advanced Meter Reading, Distribution Automation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), Demand Response and green energy solutions,” said Wayne Ward, vice president-Emerging Solutions Group, Sprint. “The Sprint Emerging Solutions Group is dedicated to open development, and is working to improve our nation’s smart grid. Sprint invests in technology and processes that enable developers to have access to important capabilities unique to our network (such as location and presence) to make their apps and devices richer. Sprint’s goal is to create as many opportunities as possible for developers to create innovative applications and devices.”

Since the development of it’s the Emerging Solutions Group one year ago, Sprint has been committed to developing the smart grid. Sprint is investing in technology and processes that enable developers to have access to important capabilities unique to its networks (such as location and presence) to make their apps and devices richer. Sprint’s goal is to create as many opportunities as possible for developers to create innovative applications and devices.

Collaborating with utility partners

Last week at CTIA Enterprise and Applications™ 2010, Sprint announced the Oct. 25 opening of a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Collaboration Center. The Center is as an actual working laboratory that brings customers a truly open approach to M2M development. A short drive from Silicon Valley in Burlingame, Calif., the facility goes far beyond mere demonstrations and corporate presentations. The M2M Collaboration Center is a true, roll-up-your-sleeves workshop, where customers can work side by side with an extensive team of experts to bring M2M ideas to life and make them commercially viable. This facility is hosting a variety of utility solutions from AMI to grid intelligence, building management and alternative green energy technologies, reinforcing Sprint’s core environmental values.

Environmental sustainability

Sprint’s commitment to develop the smart grid is part of its dedication to environmental sustainability. Sprint continues to research and introduce alternative energy solutions to power its network and reduce its environmental footprint. Since early 2005, Sprint has been deploying hydrogen fuel cells to provide clean back-up power to cell cites throughout the United States.

In 2009, Sprint received a $7.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to expand this deployment of hydrogen fuel cells across its networks. Sprint has deployed more than 250 hydrogen fuel cell generators to cell sites throughout the U.S., and thanks to the DOE grant, plans to double that number by the end of 2011. Sprint owns 15 hydrogen fuel cell patents.

Sprint continues to receive recognition for its leading sustainability efforts, programs, products and initiatives.

  • The company was the only wireless carrier listed among the top 100 companies of Newsweek’s 2009 Green Rankings.
  • Sprint scored highest among U.S.-based wireless companies on the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) 2009 Global 500 Report.
  • Sprint was also recently honored with the “Sustainability Leadership Award” at the International Electronics Recycling Conference and Expo (IERCE) for leadership among wireless carriers in the recycling of mobile handsets.

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 or and

About Sprint Emerging Solutions

The Sprint Emerging Solutions Group (ESG) is an industry leader in M2M and embedded solutions. ESG delivers a full complement of assets critical to successful M2M and embedded solutions deployments. These include: network agnostic capabilities (including CDMA, iDEN, 3G, 4G and a reliable Tier 1 IP network); specialized industry solutions engineering teams; an open approach to devices and applications through the company’s Open Device Initiative, an expansive M2M partner ecosystem; and the ability to provide customers with customized solutions that can include distribution, branding, billing and customer care services. To learn more, visit and

Link to Multimedia: Sprint partnering with utilities to optimize performance


Randy Spolter, 703-930-2671