Sprint Nextel, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, is the holding company of a telecommunications corporation that provides wireless and wireline communications services to consumers, businesses, and governments. Sprint Nextel’s operational headquarters is located in Overland Park, Kansas. Sprint Nextel was formed through a merger of Sprint and Nextel announced in December 2004 and approved by regulators on August 3, 2005. Sprint Nextel employs approximately 60,000 people worldwide serving 54 million subscribers. Net operating revenues for fiscal year 2007 were approximately $40,146 million.
The Sprint Corporation was founded as the Brown Telephone Company by Cleyson Leroy Brown in Abilene, Kansas, in 1899. After emerging from bankruptcy in 1938, the company name was changed to United Utilities. The company grew throughout the midwestern and southern United States and changed its name in 1972, to become United Telecommunications.
In 1984 United Telecommunications announced its landline network would be converted to a 100percent digital fiber optic network and would offer extraordinary clarity. By 1986, the long distance division, Sprint, was the first coast-to-coast fiber optic network. Sprint promoted its sound quality through a well-known series of “pin drop” advertisements and commercials. In 1992 United Telecommunications changed its name to Sprint Corporation. Also in 1992, Sprint became the first carrier to offer commercial internet access.
In 1987 entrepreneur Morgan O’Brien founded a company named Fleet Net. The company established itself as a nationwide provider of wireless communications, and by 1993 had changed its name to Nextel. Nextel subsequently merged with Dial Call and OneComm, and acquired all of Motorola’s specialized mobile radio (SMR) licenses for the United States. With the infusion of a billion-dollar investment by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, the company created the Nextel phone that used Motorola’s iDEN technology, providing enhanced digital cellular, two-way radio, and text/numeric paging in one phone. The iDEN service was introduced as the Nextel National Network in January 1997. By 2000 Nextel Worldwide offered all-digital wireless coverage in the United States and 70 other countries. In 2002 Nextel became the first carrier to offer live streaming video services.
Sprint Nextel uses a number of network technologies to provide its products and services. Sprint Nextel’s networks include its nationwide Sprint personal communications service (PCS) network; its code division multiple access (CDMA) national Nextel network; its integrated digital enhanced network (iDEN); its fourth-generation mobility network using worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) IEE standard 802.16e-1005; and its global internet network, a Tier 1 internet protocol (IP) backbone.
The Sprint PCS network has a voice calling area that covers more than 295 million people in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. The CDMA global system for mobile communications (GSM) provides international roaming for customers in over 160 countries worldwide. Sprint’s mobile broadband network, evolution data optimized (EV-DO), connects to more than 224 million people in 13,000 cities and more than 1,100 airports in the United States (its overlapping and faster EV-DO Rev A network provides services to over 212 million people in over 10,700 communities). Sprint Nextel’s National Nextel Network is an all-digital wireless network in the United States that reaches 264 million people in 297 markets.
Sprint Nextel is regulated at the national level by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in certain states by public utilities commissions. The FCC oversees the licensing, acquisition, construction, operation, and sale of wireless spectrum and operations. The FCC licenses Sprint Nextel for its 1.9 gigahertz (GHz) CDMA network, its 800 and 900 megahertz (MHz) iDEN network, its 2.1 and 2.5 GHz broadband radio services (BRS), as well as other licenses currently not utilized by its networks.
Sprint Nextel offers an array of technological advances to its customers in the rapidly changing telecommunications markets through its use of strategic alliances recognizing its own strength of expertise as being in wireless and wireline networks. Sprint Nextel partners with the following companies for various projects:
- Alcatel Lucent to provide mobile broadband services
- Cisco Systems to provide managed network telephony and security as well as third-generation wireless and wireline voice, video, and data integration
- Hewlett-Packard to develop embedded mobile technology solutions
- IBM to provide software assets and business process knowledge to its mobility framework
- Microsoft to provide business applications and network security
- Nortel to leverage telephony network management services
- Northrop Grumman to provide secure networks for the needs of local governments, state governments, and the federal government
As of December 31, 2007, Sprint Nextel had consolidated assets of approximately $64.1 billion and shareholder equity of $21.3 million. As of February 2008, Sprint Nextel had about 53,000 Series 1 common stock record holders and 11 Series 2 common stock record holders.
- Oliver Boyd
- -Barret, “Cyberspace, Globalization, and Empire,” Global Media and Communication (v.2/1, 2006);
- Peter Curwen, “Anatomy of a Merger: Sprint Nextel,” Info (v.9/4, 2007);
- Paul Kirby, “FCC Order Would Give Sprint Nextel Until 2010 to Vacate 800 MHz Channels,” Telecommunications Reports (v.74/20, 2008);
- Craig Kuhl, “WiMax: Coming to a Tower Near You?” Communications Technology (v.25/11, 2008);
- DongBack Seo, C. Ranganathan, and Yair Babad, “Two-Level Model of Customer Retention in the US Mobile Telecommunications Service Market,” Telecommunications Policy (v.32/3–4, 2008);
- Sprint, www.sprint.com (cited March 2009);
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, “Mobile WiMax: The Next Wireless Battleground?” Computer (v.41/6, 2008);
- Joanie Wexler, “The Wireless Data Roaming Quagmire,” Business Communications Review (v.37/6, 2008);
- Maury Wright, “WiMax Gains in Mobil-Broadband Game, but 4G Lurks,” EDN (v.52/7, 2007).
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