Sprint Connection

Sprint Nextel: Then and now

Updated: 2012-10-16T05:45:51Z

The Kansas City Star

1899 - Brown Telephone Co., Sprint’s predecessor, founded

1942 - Brown changes name to United Utilities

1972 - United Utilities changes name to United Telecommunications

1975 - United Telecom launches world’s first Public Data Network

1985 - William T. Esrey becomes United Telecom CEO

1986 - GTE Sprint and Telenet merge with the United Telecom properties US Telecom, Uninet, and ISACOMM, forming US Sprint

1986 - United Telecom begins long-distance service and “pin drop” campaign under Sprint name

1987 - US Sprint debuts nation’s first 100 percent digital, fiber-optic network

1989 - US Sprint provides industry’s first transatlantic fiber optic phone connection

1990 - US Sprint forms international subsidiary

1991 - United Telecom completes acquisition of US Sprint

1992 - United Telecom changes name to Sprint Corp., becomes first carrier to offer commercial Internet access

1993 - Sprint merges with Centel; becomes first major company to provide local, long-distance and wireless services

1996 - Sprint completes first nationwide 100 percent digital PCS wireless network; spins off cellular division into 360 Communications Co.; creates Global One alliance with Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom

1997 - Nextel’s iDEN service goes national

1998 - Sprint launches ION project to provide voice, video and data services over existing telephone lines; assumes 100 percent ownership of Sprint PCS joint venture with Tele-Communications Inc., Comcast and Cox companies; forms Internet service alliance with EarthLink Network; sells 360 Communications to Alltel

1999 - Sprint announces merger with MCI WorldCom; company to be called WorldCom

2000 - Sprint and MCI WorldCom sever agreement to merge, citing antitrust concerns; Sprint sells its interest in Global One

2001 - Sprint forms alliance with Dell Computer; Sprint ends ION project to focus on data and wireless; Sprint forms alliance with America Online

2002 - Sprint completes national 3G network upgrade

2003 - Gary Forsee becomes Sprint CEO; Sprint initiates voice phone service with cable companies

2004-2005 - Sprint and Nextel merge to form Sprint Nextel Corp.; Sprint’s separately traded wireless tracking stock, “PCS,” is absorbed into Sprint’s “FON” stock on the NYSE

2006 - Sprint Nextel spins off landline telephone business to newly created Embarq

2007 - Daniel Hesse becomes Sprint Nextel CEO

2008 - Sprint Nextel enters WiMax wireless network venture with Intel, Google, Comcast, TimeWarner Cable, Clearwire Corp. and others; Sprint Nextel and Clearwire merge; CenturyTel acquires Embarq; Sprint announces about 10,000 job cuts

2009 - Sprint Nextel outsources its wireless network management to Ericsson; Sprint Nextel acquires Virgin Mobile USA

2010 - Sprint Nextel rolls out 4G wireless broadband

2011 - Sprint Nextel begins carrying Apple’s iPhone 4

2012 - Sprint Nextel announces agreement with SoftBank for the Japanese company to own 70 percent of Sprint

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