July 31, 2008

Nextel Direct Connect Remained Fully Operational Tuesday and Experienced No Call Blocking

LOS ANGELES, Jul 31, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- As residents in southern California reflect on Tuesday’s magnitude 5.8 magnitude earthquake, Sprint (NYSE:S) reports full reliability of its Nextel Direct Connect service throughout the day.

There was an approximate 60% increase in Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk call volume during the earthquake, however, Nextel Direct Connect connections continued to go through fine and were processing "as usual" throughout the earthquake and the mass calling event that followed in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Sprint, the leader in push-to-talk services, has the largest portfolio of Nextel Direct Connect devices, including the largest selection of rugged phones certified to military standard 810F for dust, shock and vibration, useful for first-responders in emergencies.

Nextel Direct Connect services are critical for reliable disaster response:

  • Select Nextel(R) Direct Connect services on the Nextel National Network do not rely entirely on the public switched telephone network (PSTN); Nextel Direct Connect service on select devices has remained fully operational during past crises when there have been issues with the PSTN.
  • Direct Talk(sm)- enabled phones on the Nextel National Network, used by public sector customers, can communicate off-network via push-to-talk with other Direct Talk-capable phones handset-to-handset, independent of any wireless network, for short range communications. Ideal for remote locations or situations where network service is not available, Direct Talk has proven invaluable during past disaster response efforts.
  • Priority Services offered on select Nextel Direct Connect capable phones on the Nextel National Network provide higher queuing for voice and Direct Connect calls for eligible public sector subscribers, such as emergency responders, in times of network congestion. During times of crisis, these services help ensure that emergency personnel are able to communicate when they need to most.

Sprint has a strong track record of providing critical communications on all of its networks and critical personnel to assist first responders with relief efforts. "In a crisis, we want our customers, especially first responders, to know they are priority one," said Danny Bowman, president, Nextel Direct Connect. "Our customers can rely on Sprint Nextel Direct Connect even during mass calling events such as the one in Los Angeles Tuesday."

Sprint also offers these preparedness tips for emergencies:

  • Keep your wireless phone and extra backup batteries charged if evacuation is a possibility, but be aware that an interruption of commercial power and wireline service also could affect wireless calls.
  • In times of commercial power outages, a car charger for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery. In the event of an evacuation, bring your wall charger with you as well.
  • Keep extra phones and accessories in a sealed plastic bag to help avoid damage.
  • Load family emergency numbers into your wireless phone and keep a written copy of the numbers in your sealed plastic bag. Make sure those who need it have your wireless number and other contact numbers.
  • In situations where some portions of the wireless network have been impacted by power outages or other damages, text messages might be able to get through where voice calls can’t.
  • 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 53 million customers at the end of the first 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

    Media Contacts:
    Kathleen Dunleavy, 310-709-3689
    Stephanie Vinge-Walsh, 310-213-0039