HOUSTON, May 26, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --As Texas residents, first responders and businesses gear up for the 2010 hurricane season, Sprint (NYSE:S) has prepared its networks and staff so that critical communications are available to its customers before, during and after a storm.
In 2009, Sprint invested more than $124 million in its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National Network in Texas, including more than $33 million in Houston; $49 million in the Dallas-Fort Worth region; and more than $9 million in South Texas. Additionally, since 2009, more than 20 new cell sites have been added to Sprint networks throughout the state of Texas.
Sprint’s network and business continuity teams also will be pre-staged in hurricane-prone states with hundreds of portable generators, Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS) and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to readily restore wireless service quickly for customers and disaster response efforts.
"Keeping local residents, first responders and business connected during crisis situations has been, and always will be, Sprint’s top priority," said John Stevens, southwest regional vice president for Sprint. "With our reliable wireless networks, immediate resource deployment and addition of Sprint 4G in Houston and many other Texas cities, we’re confident of the service we will provide this hurricane season and beyond."
Sprint 4G working for Houston-area public safety personnel
The Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department, located near Houston in Atascocita, Texas, is equipping all of its fire prevention and emergency medical service vehicles with Sprint OverdriveTM 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot devices to readily transmit patient information in real-time to hospital emergency staff.
With speeds that are up to 10 times faster1 than 3G Internet service, Sprint 4G is currently available in 32 markets, including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston - making Texas the "biggest 4G state" in terms of the number of people who have access to the Sprint mobile network.
To enhance their on-the-ground communications during fire incidents, the Atascocita volunteer firefighters are also utilizing Nextel Direct Connect(R) Blackberry(R) devices with Direct Connect(R) and Direct TalkSM capabilities. Direct TalkSM enabled handsets can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct TalkSM 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 Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack.com, Sprint has supplied his team with Sprint 3G and 4G mobile broadband devices to give them fast and reliable mobile Internet connectivity during their online and video reporting this hurricane season.
Sprint ERT ready to assist Texas first responders
In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT), trains for the worst-case scenario and provides businesses and first responders with immediate access to mobile communications for emergencies and field training exercises, and maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, to rapidly address client needs.
Since its creation in 2002, Sprint ERT has conducted more than 3,800 deployments and provided emergency wireless support for more than 850 events, including the recent mining accident in Montcoal, W.Va., the 2009 shooting massacre in Fort Hood, Texas, the 56th Presidential Inauguration in 2009 and Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in 2008.
In addition to hurricane preparations in the Southeast and Gulf Coast, Sprint invested approximately $1.4 billion in capital in 2009, largely to enhance its networks nationwide. Its Nextel Direct Connect(R) services continue to make it the undisputed leader in push-to-talk services, used by first responders across the country for its consistent ability to remain fully operational during crisis events and independent of a wireless network.
Sprint offers the following consumer tips to prepare for a hurricane, wildfire or other natural disaster:
For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit: www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation.
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 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, and is the first and only 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 and 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.
1 "Up to 10x faster" based on download speed comparison of 3G’s 600 kbps vs. 4G’s 6 Mbps. Industry published 3G avg. speeds (600 kbps-1.7 Mbps); 4G avg. speeds (3-6 Mbps). Actual speeds may vary. Sprint 4G currently available in over 30 markets and counting, and on select devices. See www.sprint.com/4G for details. Not all services available on 4G and coverage may default to 3G/separate network where 4G unavailable.
Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806
Jennifer Schuler, 913-315-3324