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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Kevin Jackson, Michael Jannery

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Sprint’s Network and Emergency Response Operations Stand Ready for Tropical Storm Arthur

As Tropical Storm Arthur continues its path along the Atlantic coast and is forecast to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane before reaching parts of North Carolina, Sprint (NYSE:S) is preparing its network, mobilizing Network Disaster Recovery staff and equipment, and strategically staging Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) personnel and resources to serve customers and mitigate storm impact.

Sprint’s preparations include:

  • Actively monitoring Tropical Storm Arthur’s increasing strength and continued path while instituting flood prevention measures at Sprint network facilities and retail stores.
  • Fully fueling permanent generators along the storm’s anticipated track and mobilizing portable generators into threatened areas to ensure they’re available to meet response needs based on the current track and intensity of Arthur’s wind speeds and rainfall.
  • Verifying operational readiness of generators and emergency equipment at all mobile switching centers and network Points of Presence (POP) in the storm’s path – the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company’s global IP network, which facilitate dedicated data services for Sprint’s corporate and government customers, as well as other critical communications.
  • Ensuring Sprint network strike teams are on standby and ready to deploy following Arthur’s landfall and assess impact on Sprint facilities.
  • Providing any local public safety agency in need of emergency communications assistance with 14 days of service free of charge for 25 Sprint ERT wireless devices in states where an official “state of emergency” has been declared.
  • Preparing and mobilizing the Sprint Emergency Response Team’s SatCOLT (Satellite Cell on Light Truck) assets, mobile phone and broadband devices, reservist staff and other equipment to provide wireless communications service to local first responders, emergency command centers and other public safety officials in the field.

Whenever a hurricane or tropical storm threat is issued, Sprint’s Network Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response teams implement a standard preparedness and response plan approximately 24 to 72 hours before the storm is predicted to make landfall, including:

Additionally, with the continued launch of America’s Newest Network in 443 cities – including the hurricane-prone areas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston; Miami; New Orleans; Orangeburg, S.C.; Wilmington, N.C.; and West Palm Beach, Fla. – Sprint’s network strives to provide the following during emergency weather events:

  • A better wireless coverage footprint and overlap to compensate if a cell site is impacted from a natural disaster.
  • Enhanced wireless data and voice capacity due to modernized network hardware and software.
  • Reduction of blocked voice calls during mass calling events.

Sprint and NextRadio provide free emergency FM radio access

For customers looking for additional communications resources during an emergency, Sprint exclusively offers the NextRadio® interactive FM radio application, which receives FM radio broadcasts in a user’s local area through a built-in FM tuner inside the smartphone. Available on select Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA Android-powered smartphones, the free Google Play app allows consumers to listen to FM radio stations on the go.

By downloading NextRadio, Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA customers can use their Android smartphone to receive news and information from local broadcast affiliates during times of emergency. FM radio can be a lifeline to citizens when other communication networks suffer disaster- related outages, such as hurricanes.

Sprint is committed to serving the emergency response community

The first of its kind in the industry, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) was created in 2002 as a cross-functional group of full-time and seasoned personnel with expertise in providing immediate restoration of wireless voice, data and IP service, and communications coordination among disaster relief and emergency response agencies, public safety officials and medical personnel.

Since its inception, Sprint ERT has conducted more than 6,100 deployments, and provided emergency wireless support for close to 2,500 events, including recently supporting the Army National Guard during an April 2014 training exercise in Alaska, the 2013 tornados in Moore, Okla., the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and the 2013 LAX Air Exercise.

To facilitate this multi-agency coordination during times of an emergency, Sprint ERT maintains an inventory of 10,000 Sprint handsets, mobile broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint Direct Connect phones at secured facilities.

In addition to having experience in military and public safety communications, continuity management, and disaster response, Sprint ERT is supported year-round and nationwide by an ERT Reservist program. These close a thousand ERT Reservists are trained annually on all aspects of Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), Emergency Operation Center (EOC) staffing and management, and disaster response.

Sprint ERT also maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year to rapidly address client needs round the clock. In addition, during times of state and federally declared national disasters, Sprint ERT provides 25 mobile devices and wireless service free of charge for 14 days from the date of declaration to state and local agencies.

Preparedness and post-storm tips for Sprint customers

Wireless consumers are also encouraged to use the following tips to prepare for a hurricane, severe flood or other natural disasters:

  • Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so remember to send text messages, rather than call.
  • Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless calls. If possible, get extra batteries and charge them.
  • In times of commercial power outages, a car adapter for your wireless phone can enable you to recharge the battery.
  • Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage.
  • Load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone.
  • Use your Sprint phone to take digital pictures or video of your property and valuables before the storm hits. Upload the images to a cloud service so you have "before" pictures in the event of any storm damage.

For more information about Sprint’s hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation. Public safety officials seeking information about services from the Sprint Emergency Response Team should call 1-888-639-0020 or email [email protected].

About Sprint

Sprint (NYSE: S) is a communications services company that creates more and better ways to connect its customers to the things they care about most. Sprint served nearly 55 million customers as of March 31, 2014 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading no-contract brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved U.S. company in customer satisfaction, across all 43 industries, over the last six years. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America in 2011, 2012 and 2013. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

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