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July 12, 2004

New Zealand Selects Sprint for Relay Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

From: PR Newswire (press release) - Jul 12, 2004

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- New Zealand Associate Communications Minister David Cunliffe and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson today announced that Sprint (NYSE: FON) has been chosen to provide the telecommunications relay service (TRS) and to manage the government subsidized pool of TRS user equipment known as textphones.
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The TRS will help ensure that the telephone communication needs of deaf, hearing-impaired and speech-impaired New Zealanders are met.

On December 19, 2003, the government released requests for proposals for provision of the TRS and for the supply and asset management of textphone equipment.

"Ensuring that deaf and hearing-impaired New Zealanders can fully participate in society is a key focus of our Government's Disability Strategy," said Dyson said.

"This is a significant step towards achieving that. The Service will open up a world of communication which has not been accessible to many New Zealanders," she said.

"Officials went through a rigorous process in selecting Sprint and we look forward to getting a world-class Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). Users will be able to apply for a textphone before the TRS is operational so that consumers can be ready to make calls," Cunliffe said.

Sprint is a U.S.-based telecommunications service provider with extensive experience as the leading provider of relay services in the U.S. for nearly 14 years. Sprint also provides relay services in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"This marks our first opportunity to offer relay services outside the United States or its territories and this illustrates our strategy to begin offering relay services internationally to help meet the communications needs of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities around the globe," said Tom McEvoy, president, Sprint Enterprise Markets. "We've experienced first hand the importance of relay services to help people communicate with family and friends, and transact business, in a more effective way."

TRS involves a relay operator serving as an intermediary for phone calls between a deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-disabled person and a hearing party. The TRS operator speaks words typed by a deaf user on a text telephone (TTY) or via the Internet and relays the hearing person's spoken response by typing back to the deaf user.

More information about when TRS will be available and how people can begin applying for textphones will be provided to the Deaf Association and the Hearing Association and other disability organizations shortly. New Zealand's Internet-based relay service provided by Sprint and details will be available later this year.

About Sprint Relay
Sprint has been chosen to provide relay services in New Zealand. This is the first opportunity for Sprint to provide relay services outside the United States or its territories, and illustrates Sprint's strategy to help meet the communications needs of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability across the globe.

Sprint is the leading provider of relay services in the United States so that those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability can have anytime, anywhere communications. Sprint has nearly 14 years of experience in providing Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) and is the relay service provider for 32 states plus the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the federal government. For more information, please visit .

About Sprint
Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With approximately 65,000 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 .


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