Will combine Assurance Wireless and Access Wireless, the second- and fifth-largest providers of wireless Lifeline services, to become a stronger competitor in the marketplace
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 02, 2016 - Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced it has entered into an agreement with i-wireless, LLC to strengthen its position as a leader in the wireless Lifeline services industry. The partnership will merge Sprint’s Assurance Wireless and i-wireless’ Access Wireless into one entity. The entity will operate under the name i-wireless and will be led by i-wireless Founder and CEO Paul McAleese. Sprint will own 70 percent of the business, with i-wireless owning the remaining 30 percent.
“Sprint has enjoyed a great relationship with i-wireless for many years,” said Dow Draper, president of prepaid for Sprint. “We’re excited to move forward with this strategic partnership, which will result in efficiencies for both companies, including financial synergies, such as acquisition costs, device purchasing scale and working capital flexibility.”
The partnership will leverage the expertise of two industry leaders, and will combine Sprint’s strong position as a network provider with i-wireless’ national distribution strength. i-wireless has a unique competitive advantage in its ability to accurately and efficiently qualify new customers for Lifeline services through a relationship with its strategic investor, The Kroger Co. Kroger is one of the nation’s largest grocery chains. i-wireless will continue to operate on the Sprint network, which delivers consistent reliability, capacity and speed that customers can count on.
“This alliance will create a vibrant competitor ready to embrace a modernized Lifeline program,” said Paul McAleese, i-wireless CEO. “As the category transitions to broadband, we’re enthusiastic about the potential to help customers more fully participate in today’s digital economy by making access to employment, education and healthcare services more affordable to low-income consumers.”
Assurance Wireless and Access Wireless are participants in the Lifeline Assistance Program supported by the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at affordable rates. Enrollment in this government benefit program is available to consumers who meet federal or state-specific eligibility criteria.
The transaction is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory approvals.
Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served more than 58.4 million connections as of December 31, 2015 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; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America for the past five years. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
This release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the securities laws. The words “may,” “could,” “should,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “target,” “plan, “outlook,” “providing guidance,” and similar expressions are intended to identify information that is not historical in nature. All statements that address operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future — including statements relating to the transaction with iwireless and statements expressing general views about future operating results — are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are estimates and projections reflecting management’s judgment based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. With respect to these forward-looking statements, management has made assumptions regarding, among other things, financial synergies, such as efficiencies and cost savings of the transaction with iwireless; regulatory approval of the transaction; customer and network usage; connection growth and retention; service, speed, coverage and quality; availability of devices; the timing of various events and the economic environment. Sprint believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date when made. Sprint undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our company’s historical experience and our present expectations or projections. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Sprint Corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015 and, when filed, its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete set of all potential risks or uncertainties.