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Sprint Corporation , commonly referred to as Sprint , is an American telecommunications company that provides wireless services and is an internet service provider. It is the fourth-largest mobile network operator in the United States and served 54 million customers as of October The company is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
Sprint traces its origins to the Brown Telephone Company, which was founded in to bring telephone service to the rural area around Abilene , Kansas. In , Sprint left the local landline telephone business, spinning those assets off into a new company named Embarq , which later became a part of CenturyLink.
The company remains one of the largest long-distance providers in the United States. Until , the company was also known as the Sprint Corporation, but took the name Sprint Nextel Corporation when it merged with Nextel Communications. In , following the shutdown of the Nextel network and concurrent with the acquisition by SoftBank, the company returned to using Sprint Corporation.
In July , as part of the SoftBank transactions, Sprint acquired the remaining shares of wireless broadband carrier Clearwire Corporation which it did not already own. Claure is the founder and former CEO of wireless supplier Brightstar. In March , they joined with 14 other Kansas independents to incorporate the Union Telephone and Telegraph Company, which would provide long-distance service to Kansas City.
In September , C. Brown consolidated the Brown Telephone Company with three other independents to form the second largest telephone company in Kansas, the United Telephone Company , which controlled seven major telephone exchanges. The Great Depression caused more than three million telephone subscribers to give up their phone service between and During the reorganization, a number of companies were merged and later phased out.
The reorganization plan received final approval in late Henson became president of United Utilities in , he almost immediately reorganized the company in accordance with C. In , United Telecom launched a national X. In , United Telecom began offering cellular telephone services in their territories under the brand name "Telespectrum".
Southern Pacific maintained an extensive microwave communications system along its rights-of-way that the railroad used for internal communications. After the Execunet II decision, Southern Pacific expanded its internal communications network by laying fiber optic cables along the same rights-of-way. Prior attempts at offering long distance voice services had not been approved by the U. Southern Pacific Communications was only permitted to provide private line services, not switched services.
Southern Pacific Communications decided they needed a new name to differentiate the switched voice service from SpeedFAX, and ran an internal contest to select a name.
The Sprint service was first marketed in six metropolitan areas: A customer was required to have a private line connection to one of these switches in order to use the service and paid an access fee per private line. Customers were then billed at 2. GTE had acquired a national X. In , United Telecom purchased a controlling interest, and in , it completed its acquisition of US Sprint. On February 26, , United Telecommunications adopted the nationally recognized identity of its long-distance unit US Sprint, changing its name to Sprint Corporation , due in large part to the increased brand recognition as a result of the successful Candice Bergen "Dime Lady" advertisement campaign.
Sprint Corporation entered the Canadian market in the early s as a reseller of bulk long-distance telephone lines that it bought from domestic companies. Under Canadian foreign ownership regulations, Sprint could not open its own network. In , Sprint entered into a strategic alliance with Call-Net Enterprises, a Canadian long-distance service, and bought 25 percent of the company. In , Sprint acquired Centel , allowing Sprint to provide local service in a total of 18 states, putting them back in the wireless market.
In , Sprint spun off their existing cellular operations as " Communications" for regulatory reasons, in order to start a new service in the PCS band. In , Communications was acquired by Alltel , which was in turn acquired by Verizon in Later in , the company began to offer wireless service under the Sprint Spectrum brand in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
In September , Sprint announced a deal with RadioShack , and in , Sprint stores opened at RadioShack to offer communications services and products across the United States. Since then, over 20 million Sprint cell phones have been sold via the RadioShack outlets. RadioShack was one of the first retailers to offer Sprint services and an all-digital nationwide network for its customers. The deal would have been the largest corporate merger in history at the time.
However, due to pressure from the United States Department of Justice and the European Union on concerns of it creating a monopoly, the deal did not go through. In , Sprint began recombining its local telecom, long distance, wireline, and wireless business units into a new company, in an initiative known internally as "One Sprint". The PCS shareholders claimed a loss of 1. While billed as a merger of equals, the merger was transacted as purchase of Nextel Communications by Sprint Corporation for tax reasons; Sprint purchased At the time of the merger announcement, Sprint and Nextel were the third and fifth leading providers in the U.
Sprint shareholders approved the merger on July 13, The merger deal was approved by the U. Department of Justice on August 3, The FCC approved the merger on the condition that Sprint Nextel was to provide wireless service via the 2.
Sprint Nextel was formed on August 12, , when the deal was completed. Sprint and Nextel faced opposition to the merger, mostly from regional affiliates that provided wireless services on behalf of the companies. These regional affiliates felt that the new company would be violating non-compete agreements that the former companies had made with the affiliates.
On September 1, , Sprint Nextel combined plan offerings of its Sprint and Nextel brands to bring uniformity across the company's offerings. The integration process was difficult due to disparate network technologies. Sprint tried to address this with the advent of PowerSource phones. However, this was not sufficient in coverage, due to the inability to roam on non-PCS spectrum. Soon after the merger, top Nextel Executives began leaving the company immediately after the merger closed.
Two years after the merger, only a few key Nextel executives remained, with many former Nextel middle- and upper-level managers having left, citing reasons including the unbridgeable cultural difference between the two companies. In , Sprint spun off its local telephone operations, including the former United Telephone companies and Centel , as Embarq.
Prior to their merger, Sprint and Nextel were dependent on a network of affiliated companies. Following the announcement of the merger agreement, some of these affiliates came forward with a strong opposition to the Sprint-Nextel merger on the grounds that the merged company might violate existing agreements or significantly undercut earnings to these affiliates.
In order for Sprint Nextel to allay some of this opposition, they initiated discussions of either acquiring some of these affiliates or renegotiating existing agreements. In several cases, the newly formed company was forced to acquire affiliated companies in exchange for their dropping their opposition to the merger. Foresee said that the company would likely have to acquire all of its remaining affiliates. In , Sprint Nextel acquired three of its ten wireless affiliates: Of Sprint's original ten affiliates, only two, Shentel and Swiftel, now remain.
Below are companies which Sprint Corporation has agreed to acquire or has already acquired: After the Sprint-Nextel merger, the company maintained an executive headquarters in Reston, Virginia and operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recognized that having two headquarters was not helping the merger effort, sent the wrong message to employees and contributed to the post-merger cultural clash. To resolve the problem, Hesse decided to consolidate all headquarters operations in the Sprint World Headquarters Campus located in Overland Park, Kansas ,  a suburb in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The FCC's acting chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and commissioner Ajit Pai both gave statements vociferously supporting the acquisition, saying the deal "serve[s] the public interest". Louis, central Illinois and three other Midwest markets. The deal was expected to close in mid Prior to July 9, , Sprint Nextel only owned a On March 31, , the U. Roughly a third of the retail space in each location is dedicated to Sprint products and services, and the stores will ultimately adopt Sprint as their primary brand in place of RadioShack.
Sprint stated that this deal would increase the company's retail footprint by more than double. On January 23, , Sprint announced that they were buying a 33 percent stake in the music streaming service Tidal. On February 17, , it was reported by Reuters that Softbank was considering selling its majority share in the company to Deutsche Telekom , which would effectively merge the carrier with T-Mobile US.
Sprint derives revenue as a wireline IP network operator and as a long distance telephony provider. Sprint Nextel is the United States' fourth largest long distance provider by subscribers. In , Sprint Nextel exited the local landline telephone business, spinning those assets off into a newly created company named Embarq , which CenturyTel acquired in to form CenturyLink.
SprintLink is a global Tier 1 Internet service provider network, operating an G  Internet backbone. Customers include large multinational corporations , government agencies, retail and restaurant chains, Tier 2 and Tier 3 ISPs, and medium-to-small businesses.
Sprint later expanded their Ethernet services to 65 markets in September Sprint offers its enterprise customers managed web-based services through its Sprint Web Services  program. It allows enterprise customers to create managed web-based applications. Sprint Corporation offers postpaid wireless voice and data services primarily under the Sprint brand. The Sprint Prepaid Group is a division of the company formed in May that is responsible for the operations of Sprint's pre-pay subsidiaries.
SPG's branded products and services are sold via web and available at retailers nationwide, including Best Buy , Walmart , Target and other independent dealers.
The program offers a free wireless phone and free local and domestic long distance voice minutes per month to eligible low-income customers in 31 states. End users do not receive a bill, nor are they required to sign a contract, and do not pay activation fees, recurring fees, or surcharges.
Sprint Corporation provides services using both its own spectrum and network equipment through affiliate agreements. Smaller affiliated companies operate their own network assets and retail operations but offer services to customers in their geographic region under the Sprint brand.
In the early stages of network build-out, the company relied significantly on network partners known as affiliates to rapidly expand its coverage. These affiliates would lease Sprint's PCS spectrum licenses in a specific geographic area, typically rural areas, and smaller cities, and provide wireless service using the Sprint brand.
Sprint provided back-end support such as billing and telephone-based customer service, while the affiliates built and maintained the network, sold equipment to customers, and staffed the retail stores in their specific regions. Its customers could "roam" across Sprint-operated and affiliate-operated portions of the network without being aware of the distinction, and vice versa.