A big player in both the cell carrier and wireless broadband arenas, Sprint has been doing assorted charity work in some of the more vital U.S. markets. In the past week alone, two press releases have been issued regarding Sprint's philanthropy. If analyzed acutely, there may be some clues in the patterns of Sprint's contributions to local charities.
In the last couple of days Sprint has made charitable donations in Atlanta and Chicago, to help remedy the technological deficiencies specific to each community. The Sprint Foundation has given four local non-profits in Atlanta a grand total of $55,000 in grants. In Chicago, Sprint has partnered with the city to provide complimentarymobile Internet access for select high school students. They also have plans to develop affordable wireless services for hundreds of thousands of residents in low-income neighborhoods that do not even have access to Internet, whatever the cost. "Going forward, Sprint Nextel will be able to offer its various services at lower prices to residents and businesses that are traditionally underserved by the telecommunications industry," according to a recent statement from the company.
The same statement goes on to note that the Sprint Foundation "creatively and thoughtfully delivers Sprint's commitment to championing the communities where Sprint customers and employees live." Even after donating over $110 million in grants to non-profits, the goal at the end of the day is still the profit. Yes, Sprint has enabled several courses of action to benefit local communities and that is what to be commended, but on the other hand, Sprint is still a corporation and while we don't want to denigrate their positive donations to needy communities, they still stand to benefit from their benevolent actions.
This fact may go a long way towards answering the questions, "Why Atlanta? Why Chicago?" Part of it is likely connected to Sprint's sister company, Clearwire. Clearwire has been released in about 50 markets in the U.S., including Atlanta and Chicago and ----most importantly-Sprint and Clearwire share networks. At this point in the game, Sprint and Clearwire are miles ahead of the competition in regards to their 4G platform launch. But that's about to change soon with other carriers poised to get in on the action. Which company is next to make the biggest impact? All signs point to Verizon, as they have already mapped out the targets of their service rollout to include, you guessed it, Atlanta and Chicago.
Sprint is using whatever leverage left at this point to do some PR work. By getting good publicity in two major citiesthey risk losing in the next year, they are sticking their foot in the door and putting up a fight.