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March 24, 2004

Sprint Launches Innovative CapTelSM Relay Service for Hard of Hearing Community

From: Sprint - Mar 24, 2004

In cooperation with Ultratec, Inc., a new telecommunications relay service alternative is now available

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - March 24, 2004 - Sprint (NYSE: FON, PCS), the leading provider of telecommunications relay services (TRS), recently launched CapTelSM Relay Service, an assistive technology aimed at easing communications for the more than 24 million Americans who are hard of hearing, have experienced hearing loss later in life or deaf individuals with good vocalization skills. CapTel (Captioned Telephone) essentially provides live captioning of phone conversations, allowing users to ensure they receive and understand the full context of any call. Sprint and Ultratec, Inc. have successfully tested the service for more than a year with approximately 1,400 users nationwide.

CapTel Relay Service is a leading-edge technology developed by Ultratec, Inc. of Madison, Wis., that allows people to receive both voice and text captioning, nearly simultaneously. A special CapTelTM-equipped phone is required in order to place a call through the CapTel Relay Service. The CapTel phone works like any traditional phone with callers talking and listening to each other, but with one very significant difference - captions are provided live for every call. The captions are displayed on the CapTel phone's built-in screen so the user can read the words while listening to the voice of the other party. The conversation can flow naturally, allowing for normal interruptions and expressed emotions. CapTel services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"CapTel is a life changing experience for many that use it, but it's not mandated so states must individually work with Sprint to make it a reality for hard of hearing and deaf citizens," said Mike Ligas, region vice president, Sprint Relay. "It is important for citizens to learn about this service and work with their state to make the option available to them."

Hawaii is the first state to launch the fully FCC compliant CapTel service to their hard of hearing community. Today, CapTel also is available through Sprint in seven other states including Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming. Hard of hearing employees of the federal government now can take advantage of CapTel services by Sprint. Beginning April 1, 2004, CapTel will be available in Arkansas, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

"We at the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission are pleased to be the first state to offer this product as a standard relay offering to Hawaii customers," said Carlito Caliboso, Chairman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. "The feedback we have received so far has been very positive. Our CapTel users are happy and satisfied with their phones and Sprint's CapTel relay service."

Robert M. Engelke, President of Ultratec and inventor of CapTel technology, added, "Ultratec is delighted to be working with Sprint to make this life-changing technology available to people with hearing loss. Sprint's commitment to providing CapTel service reinforces its leadership role in telecommunication relay services."

For more information on CapTel services provided by Sprint, contact your Sprint Relay Account Manager by visiting and scrolling down the page to find the contact listed for your state. Or you can refer to Ultratec's website at

How CapTel works

As the user dials the phone number of the person they wish to call, the CapTel phone automatically routes their call through the CapTel call center and connects them to their called party. At the call center, a specially trained operator (a captionist) uses a customized voice-recognition computer and re-voices whatever is said by the called party. The voice-recognition software transcribes the operator's voice into captions that appear on the CapTel's bright display screen for the user to read. The user also hears the other party's voice on the phone to the best of their ability, just like any other amplified phone.

Sprint Relay Portfolio of Services

Sprint has nearly 14 years of experience in providing relay services to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled to communicate with hearing persons on the phone. Sprint offers relay services through an intelligent platform to 32 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the federal government. Sprint's experience in the field provides the assurance that all Sprint Relay services (TTY, internet, video, CapTel and Captioned) delivered will meet or exceed Federal Communications Commission requirements for telecommunications relay services (TRS). Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. For more information visit

Sprint Government Systems Division ( is based in Herndon, Va., and offers the full range of Sprint product and service offerings for federal and state government customers.

About Sprint

Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With approximately 67,000 employees worldwide and over $26 billion in annual revenues in 2003, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint provides local communications services in 39 states and the District of Columbia and operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in the United States. For more information, visit