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July 7, 2004

Sprint Provides Free Phones for Hard of Hearing Federal Governmen t Employees and Veterans

From: Sprint (Press Release) - Jul 7, 2004

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - July 7, 2004 - Sprint (NYSE: FON), the leading provider of telecommunications relay services (TRS), is working with the General Service Administration (GSA) to provide up to fifty (50) free CapTelSM phones every month for federal government employees (civilian and military), Federal retirees and veterans.  CapTel offered by the Federal Relay, fully FCC compliant, is 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 relay service is a leading-edge technology developed by Ultratec, Inc. of Madison, Wis., which 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 through Federal Relay is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (Spanish - 8am to Midnight Eastern daily)

"Sprint is pleased to provide yet another communications alternative for federal employees who are hard of hearing or deaf," said Mike Ligas, region vice president, Sprint Relay.  "Using CapTel through Federal Relay can be a life changing experience for many by allowing them to communicate better with their family, friends and for business purposes."

For further information on Federal Relay or CapTel service or to obtain a free Federal CapTel phone, qualified Federal employees/retirees or veterans need to complete and submit an application form, visit  Additionally, you can contact Randy Murbach, Contract Manager, by e-mail 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 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 Background
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.    Relay service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no restrictions on the number of calls placed or call length. Sprint is one of the leading employers of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing people in the industry. The 'Sprint Relay' team is comprised of individuals who are daily users of the service, and have greatly influenced the development and quality of Sprint's products and services.  For more information on Federal Relay, visit and Sprint Relay at 

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 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