Sprint Chosen As Pope's Wireless Provider For NYC Visit

  • April 21, 2008
Sprint may be losing subscribers in droves, but the wireless operator is touting one high-placed new customer: Pope Benedict XVI.

In a release issued Friday, Sprint said it was chosen by the Archdiocese of New York to provide "critical communications support" for the Pope's visit to New York City, including 600 Sprint phones featuring Nextel's push-to-talk service.

Of those, "40 phones will be used by the Elite Fleet, including the Pope's Caravan, all Cardinals and the Vatican VIP personnel," said Sprint.

The carrier even got an ecclesiastical endorsement: "Robust communications are integral to the success of the Pope's visit, and we decided to work with Sprint because of their industry-leading Nextel Direct Connect product and the instant connectivity that it will provide to our staff during all activities over the next few days," said Joseph Zwilling, the Archdiocese director of communications, in a statement.

Nothing short of a miracle, however, will keep Sprint from hemorrhaging subscribers. The company has already said it expects to lose 1.2 million customers in the first quarter of 2008 and a similar amount in the second quarter.

--Mark Walsh

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