Sprint offering cable companies converged services

Sprint Nextel will begin offering cable companies converged services that will merge a customer's broadband, TV, home telephone service and wireless service. The move is in keeping with recent statements from the carrier that it plans on expanding its business portfolio to other areas beyond traditional wireless services.

The nation's third largest wireless carrier said in a release that it planned on providing services to cable companies that include having caller ID that will appear on a TV or computer screen and having a home voicemail alert sent to a customer's cell phone. Sprint currently provides VoIP services to 14 cable companies, supporting more than 4.5 million subscribers, according to the release. 

Separately, Sprint said that it had formed a new business unit to focus on enterprise and government customers. The newly created Business Markets Group will have more than than 4,000 sales, support, marketing and operations employees.

The move into more wholesale and nontraditional business models reflects a growing sense in Sprint that in order to boost revenue, the carrier will have to look beyond traditional wireless money-makers. Sprint lost 1.3 million subscribers and posted a $1.6 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2008. The carrier recently said it was looking to forge partnerships with companies to promote embedded wireless technology, and recently struck a deal with Ford Motor Co. to put in-dashboard computers in Ford vehicles that connect to Sprint's network.   

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently indicated that the company was looking to try to gain a competitive edge by moving further into the wholesale business. "(Wholesale) is an important contributor to revenue now, and will be an important contributor for some time," Hesse said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. "We'll get the lion's share of new products that need a cellular connection."

For more:
- see this article on converged services
- see this article on the new business division

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