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Western Railroad Discussion > Sprint Cell Phone Service


Date: 06/13/06 10:43
Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: wildcataz9

While browsing Wikipedia, I came accross this bit of information. I found it interesting and thought I would share it. Is this true where the name Sprint comes from?

Southern Pacific Communications Company (SPCC), a unit of the Southern Pacific Railroad began offering their dial-up service shortly after the Execunet II decision late in 1978. The Railroad had extensive rights of way that could be used to lay long-distance communications. Prior attempts at offering long distance service were not approved by the Federal Communications Commission, though the company's fax service (SpeedFAX) had been permitted. SPC was headquartered in Burlingame, California (where Sprint still maintains a small presence on Adrian Ct.). According to company employees, Sprint was a name chosen by a contest sponsored within the company by Rex Hollis, the VP of Marketing at the time. It was an acronym for "Southern Pacific Railroad INTegration".

Southern Pacific Communications became part of GTE in 1982. In 1986, Sprint was merged with US Telecom (the long distance arm of United Telecom) to form US Sprint. This was a partnership owned by GTE and United Telecom. In 1989 United Telecom purchased controlling interest in US Sprint. In 1991 United Telecom completed its acquisition of US Sprint. That same year United Telecom changed its name to Sprint.



Date: 06/13/06 10:51
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: czephyr17

Yes. I remember reading about the SP's SPRINT system in the 1970's prior to them selling it off.



Date: 06/13/06 10:58
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: WW

I heard years ago that "SPRINT" was the acronym for Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications. It was my understanding that they started "selling" what would today be called excess "bandwidth" to outside customers in the 1970's, forming, as an earlier post stated, the nucleus for what became Sprint.



Date: 06/13/06 11:23
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: espeeboy

yeah, this is one of the reasons why I have Sprint's PCS service today. Can'nt be Espeeboy without S.P.rint for mobile phone service!



Date: 06/13/06 11:33
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: czuleget

One problem with sprint it will not work at the loop. Other wise its good service here in the Los Angeles area.



Date: 06/13/06 13:26
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: johnacraft

wildcataz9 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While browsing Wikipedia, I came accross this bit
> of information. I found it interesting and
> thought I would share it. Is this true where the
> name Sprint comes from?

> According to company employees, Sprint was a name
> chosen by a contest sponsored within the company
> by Rex Hollis, the VP of Marketing at the time. It
> was an acronym for "Southern Pacific Railroad
> INTegration".

Yes. I have heard it the way Wally tells it - "INTernal" - as well as a version that the initials SPR just naturally lended themselves to the name SPRINT. I tend to believe the latter. I never heard the "internal contest" story.


> Southern Pacific Communications became part of GTE
> in 1982. In 1986, Sprint was merged with US
> Telecom (the long distance arm of United Telecom)
> to form US Sprint. This was a partnership owned by
> GTE and United Telecom. In 1989 United Telecom
> purchased controlling interest in US Sprint. In
> 1991 United Telecom completed its acquisition of
> US Sprint. That same year United Telecom changed
> its name to Sprint.


This isn't precisely correct, and it was a bloody mess. In the early days of Equal Access and long distance competition, "interexchange carriers" like AT&T, MCI, and Sprint built some pretty complex networks designed to minimize their costs. And Sprint was the worst - there were still trunk groups billed to GSP (GTE Sprint), UTC (United Tel), and SPR (Sprint). Some handled only incoming traffic, some handled certain outgoing . . . as I said, a bloody mess.

Sprint hasn't had anything to do with Southern Pacific since the early 80s. However, Philip Anschutz kept right-of-way rights when he sold SP and D&RGW to UP. His company Qwest (which was a fiber company before it bought LCI and US West) used SP (and other railroads) to build out yet another network.

JAC



Date: 06/13/06 17:40
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: Chief409

In the Bay Area, and elsewhere where it used to be SP right of way you can see the SPRINT White/Orange markers every couple hundred feet. Including the ex-SP ROW thru Niles Canyon, P-Town and Livermore.

Before the fiber-optic, they had a extensive microwave radio network. In fact, my office and shop is now in one of the ex-SPRINT microwave site equipment buildings. SPRINT was often co-located at SP radio sites, and when they got off the microwave, (remember the SPRINT TV commercial with the pin dropping?) turned the buildings over to the SP who was the landlord. When I set my shop up, I found the SPRINT site maintance logs, and some other odds and ends that was left over.

The comment that SPRINT cell service dosen't cover the Techachapi area I can verify. I've tried to make calls on my company issued Blackberry (which came set up for SPRINT) from Mojave, west to Keen and east to Kramer Jct. No coverage or very spotty. It's OK from Rosamond south to Cajon along 14 and 138. Seems to work well in Cajon Pass. CINGULAR has good coverage all over the area, though (I have both). Nothing works past Ridgecrest to Trona though. Not even with a booster and external antenna.

Jeff
Rosamond, CA



Date: 06/13/06 18:08
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: trails2rails

But there is an even stranger angle to this...

Yes, Sprint was born from SP. But of course Phil Anschutz eventually bought and sold the SP - and then went on to be the largest shareholder in Qwest - during it's wild expansion days.

So SP in a way was used to launch TWO telecom companies...



Date: 06/14/06 04:33
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: run8

johnacraft Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> wildcataz9 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> >
> > According to company employees, Sprint was a name
> > chosen by a contest sponsored within the company
> > by Rex Hollis, the VP of Marketing at the time.
> > It was an acronym for "Southern Pacific Railroad
> > INTegration".
>
> Yes. I have heard it the way Wally tells it -
> "INTernal" - as well as a version that the
> initials SPR just naturally lended themselves to
> the name SPRINT. I tend to believe the latter. I
> never heard the "internal contest" story.

There are many versions of how the name came about. I have seen the version included in this page a number of times, but as with other things on internet, (e.g. the story of GM and National City Lines) repeating it doesn't necessarily make the story right:

http://yarchive.net/phone/sprint.html

In short, he claims the name came from an internal contest, and didn't really mean anything at the time.



Date: 06/14/06 15:58
Re: Sprint Cell Phone Service
Author: stretch

Well UP employees get a 20% discount on their bill.



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