Sprint Wants Its Government Handout, Too

from the brother-can-you-spare-$2-billion dept

Sprint has sent a letter to the incoming Obama administration making a pitch for a $2 billion emergency communications network (via Phone Scoop) for first responders. Sprint’s plan calls for satellite-equipped trucks (that sound like mobile base stations on wheels) and up to 100,000 handsets and other gear to be stockpiled around the country so that it could be delivered anywhere in the US within four hours. Sprint wants the plan included in the economic stimulus plan working its way through Congress — and it’s just coincidence, of course, that Sprint would be a huge beneficiary of such legislation, and $2 billion would give its struggling business a big boost. Without a doubt, public-safety communications are in need of a serious overhaul, and this is an area that the FCC and other parties have been looking at for some time. It’s a complex situation — one that deserves a more thorough investigation and solution, rather than a piece of government pork.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: sprint

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Sprint Wants Its Government Handout, Too”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
shaniac says:

Really a sale of iDen

First off I will side with you that Sprint has offered some of the worst customer service in the entire wireless industry. That being said they have the best price-point for coverage and service of any US carrier. I know it is popular to hate on them, but when 6 of the top 10 phones in the country are exclusive to Sprint and 2009 adding more to the list, how can folks just keep paying lip service. So At&t and Verizon claim to have larger networks, in reality they do not…their pricing is 30% to 60% higher than Sprint or T-Mobile but Sprint has the best and fastest 3G coverage in the US. I agree that the Nextel Purchase was a total bonehead move and the mark it has left on the company may be inescapable…but also realize that Sprint was in the market trying to sell the iDEN network for about 2 billion over the summer as a private public safety network. I guess on one hand Sprint is looking to sell the public sector a service they already rely on, where as the bailout requests from At&t and Verizon are just for cash in hand…nothing for customers or the government. I don’t think any of them should get bailed out but at least on one hand the people get something for their cash…much less than I can say for any of the “service” that those two under deliver and over charge for.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Sprint Bad

Sprint deserves to go out of business. Nevertheless this raises a serious issue. What is a PRIVATE company doing stockpiling “emergency” communications equipment?

This is a management issue that is the responsibly of local/state governments. When has Sprint ever been altruistic? I never got my $15 back, as a result of a class action lawsuit, for their “improper” billing practices.

gene_cavanaugh (user link) says:

Sprint and pork

I agree that it needs more thought.
However, if it were tied to opening up the various networks, and allowing one system throughout the nation, it could have a lot of side benefits.
Right now, we have networks side by side. Very inefficient, and since it screens out competition, it tends to stifle innovation. Provide money, but require an open network – it might cost more money (a lot more) but long term it would be a giant step forward.

Anonymous does not Forgive says:

So wait... what?

Am I really reading this right? instead of requesting a hand out to try and keep people EMPLOYED and fix their ONGOING financial issues, they’re trying to expand their services into another area and when the time comes, their already CRAPPY and thinly stretched customer service and support staff will have to support yet another area? Someone at Sprint really has their priorities screwed up. They should be focussing on keeping their freaking workers employed so the employee morale isnt so low you could take a 1 way trip to the earths core on it. Also, they should focuss on fixing their customer service lines so people can actually get decent customer service, and I don’t know about you people but their a very LOUD AND CLEAR difference when i talk on my AT&T phone (

Anonymous Coward says:

and I don’t know about you people but there is a very LOUD AND CLEAR difference when i talk on my AT&T phone, which is better btw, compared to my Sprint phone, their network blows. Maybe AT&T is actually doing something right, maybe they have higher prices TO KEEP PEOPLE EMPLOYED, maybe Sprint should consider raising their prices so they can keep competenent people employed and oh I don’t know improve the quality of service? I’ve said my peace, and yes i’m an ex Sprint contractor, that company has no love for its employees and as this article makes clear, foolishly uses their resources. /rant off

Bill Curnow (profile) says:

I take it Sprint envisions this as a natural extension of the Government Emergency Telecommunications Services (GETS). Under GETS, card holders get priority access to land lines and cell towers, allowing them to bypass the so-called “Mother’s Day” problem. The problem with GETS, of course, is that it relies on a functioning telecommunications system, take away that system and you’ll have to resort to RACES/ARES getting the message through for you.

Judd Sandage says:

huh wah?

there is already an FCC mandated emergency communications setup for that as Bill already stated RACES/ARES is there to save the day, they were there during Katrina with radio in hand for the director of FEMA but he slapped the thing away saying get the F outa here we don’t want you we want the phones back up, the local “ham”s had setup a repeater on one of the high-rises within 24 hours of the end of the storm, and had people at all the command centers for communications. and weren’t being used like they should have been. use what is already existing before trying to spend even more money for something that is just to bail out a failing business.

John Taylor says:

Sprint's proposal to create a National Emergency Response Team

Thanks for writing about our recommendation to the Obama administration.

We recommended that the government bid out a contract to a wireless carrier to provide this service. This is not a handout, but a competitive bidding process. In our memo to the Obama transition team, we didn’t stipulate what kind of technology it should use — it could be GSM, IDEN, CDMA or something else.

We did spell out what the team would do: in less than 4 hours it would provide a temporary wireless network anywhere in the country after being activated. The service would be provided by a fleet of 100 SatCOLTs (Satellite Cell on Light Trucks) which could be airlifted if necessary to where they would be deployed.

We estimated that this could be build in less than a year and would cost about $2 Billion — a fraction of the $20 Billion associated with a wireless broadband network for first responders.

Creating a National Emergency Response Team would also implement recommendations of the 9-11 Commission and the FCC’s Katrina Panel.

For many years our government has not acted on these recommendations. If they adopted our proposal, they could implement them both in less than a year and make us all safer in the process.

We believe this is a very serious idea to solve an ongoing homeland security issue. Please contact me if you have further questions. I’d welcome the chance to discuss it with you or other colleagues of yours at Techdirt.

La says:

Fix my credit

If they get a penny of this money, they better take that $300 early disconnection fee off my credit. That’s the only thing negative on my credit and it was put there falsely. They breached the contract by padding my bill every other month with thse multimedia plans. I always had to call in and still pay up front and wait for a credit the following month. They did this to me over and over and over until I had it. We hardly used the phones. Crimials.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...