by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
bailout, handout, telcos


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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Sell Fone, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    What a novel idea

    Here's an idea, why doesn't Spint provide a service people want at a reasonable price ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    RD, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 7:09pm


    Fixed that for ya:

    Here's and idea, why doesnt Sprint provide a service that actually works, with handsets people want, and a competitive price, oh and a service that WORKS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Internet Addicted Idiot, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    Re: What a novel idea

    that's ridiculous. sprint isn't capable of such a thing. how dare you mention the obvious!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Just Saying, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler

    I'm changing my name to Chrysler
    When they hand a million grand out,
    I'll be standing with my hand out,
    Oh I'll get mine.

    ...old ditty that sure fits these times...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    shaniac, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 8:40pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Gooner, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Thanks for the Sprint commercial

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:51pm


    Limits movement, allows no flexibility and reduces the quality of life for at least two years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Nobody, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 11:27pm

    Re: What a novel idea

    They already do. Er, did. It was called SERO.

    Even Sprint's Everything Plus is a much better deal than comparable plans from Verizon/AT&T. $60+tax/month for 500 mins, unlimited data, unlimited messaging and BIS. The same plan from Verizon/AT&T would cost me $100+ before tax.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:22am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    that's not good enough, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: What a novel idea

    So what you're saying is that it's ok to not provide what the customer wants, but instead only do a little better than the competition.
    Sounds like a plan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    gene_cavanaugh, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:24am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 5:30am

    I want a handout!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous does not Forgive, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    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 (

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Brutus Beefcake, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 11:17am


    The corporate ass clowns can lobby the political ass clowns for our money.

    We are freaking doomed!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Bill Curnow, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 11:23am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Judd Sandage, Jan 20th, 2009 @ 2:36pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    John Taylor, Jan 21st, 2009 @ 4:15pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    La, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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