Sprint Company History Timeline


Each embraced the same bold approach that Sprint's founder Cleyson Brown showed in 1899, when the Brown Telephone Company successfully went toe-to-toe with the Bell monopoly in Abilene, Kansas.

Brown Telephone Company was founded in 1899 by Cleyson Brown, to deploy the first telephone service to the rural area around Abilene, Kansas.


The Browns installed their first long-distance circuit in 1900 and became an alternative to the Bell Telephone Company, the most popular telephone service at the time.


In 1911, C. L. Brown consolidated the Brown Telephone Company with three other independents to form the United Telephone Company.


C. L. Brown formed United Telephone and Electric (UT&E) in 1925.


In 1939, at the end of the Great Depression, UT&E reorganized to form United Utilities.


When Henson began working at the company in 1959, it had 575,000 telephones in 15 states and revenues of $65 million.


In 1964, Paul H. Henson became president of United Utilities; two years later, he was named chairman.


In 1972, United Utilities changed its name to United Telecommunications.


1976 Coming of Age Sprint – Decades of local expansion produce $1 billion revenue milestone.


At the same time, the company was a pioneer in data communications, establishing the world's third largest commercial packet data network in 1980.

In 1980, United Telecommunications began working on a 23,000 mile fiber optic network for long-distance calls.


Pre-1982, the companies were United Telecom and GTE. The sequence of events is:

Finally, United Telecom renames itself Sprint and applies the Sprint brand to the local telephone operations that it had before 1982.

In 1982, it was announced that GTE Corp. had reached an agreement to buy SPC's long-distance telephone operation, including Sprint.


GTE, which also owned General Telephone, purchased the entire SPCC brand and subsidiaries in 1983, in the hopes of creating a larger company capable of competing with AT&T. The company became known as GTE Sprint.


By 1986, Sprint led all United States telecom companies by completing the first nationwide, 100% digital, fiber-optic network.

1986 Pin-Drop Quality Sprint – Long-distance service begins and famous pin-drop commercials debut.

The two companies met in a series of secret meetings in 1986 before announcing plans to merge the two companies.

In 1986, GTE Sprint merged with the United Telecommunications Inc. property, US Telecom.


The Nextel Tradition . In 1987, a visionary entrepreneur named Morgan O'Brien founded a company called Fleet Net.

1987 Industry First Sprint – First nationwide, 100 percent digital, fiber-optic network is completed.

United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint Corporation in 1987 to capitalize on its brand recognition.


The new entity also included communications firm GTE Telenet, and United Telecom Data communications Co., (formerly known as Uninet). In 1988, GTE sold more of Sprint to Telecom, giving Telecom operational control of the company.


1989 Across the Sea Sprint – First transatlantic fiber-optic phone call connects.

In 1989, this long-distance business became profitable for the company for the first time.


United Telecom announced it would complete its acquisition of US Sprint on April 18, 1990.

1990 Sprint forms an international subsidiary to globally market SprintNet®, one of the world's largest public data networks, along with other international services

In 1990, Henson retired from United Telecommunications; by this time the company's revenues had grown to $8 billion.


1991 United Telecom deploys the first nationwide public Frame Relay service.


1992 United Telecom adopts the nationally recognized identity of its long distance unit, changing its name to Sprint Corporation.


In March 1993, Sprint merged with Chicago's Centel Corp.

Then a new kind of telecom company emerged in 1993, when Sprint and Centel merged to become a unique provider of local, wireless and long distance services.

Renamed Nextel in 1993, the company rapidly established itself as a nationwide force in the burgeoning world of wireless communications.

In 1993, Sprint entered into a strategic alliance with Call-Net Enterprises, a Canadian long-distance service, and bought 25 percent of the company.


In November 1995, the company began to offer wireless service under the Sprint Spectrum brand in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

By mid-1995, Nextel was on point to serve all of the nation's top 50 markets.

In 1995, Sprint entered into a partnership with Americal Personal Communications to create a digital wireless network.


In September 1996, the company introduced Motorola's breakthrough iDEN technology.


The national rollout of iDEN service began and the Nextel National Network was introduced in January 1997.

All in One Nextel – Becomes first to combine digital cellular, two-way radio and text-numeric paging in one phone (using Motorola's iDEN technology). 1997


By the year 2000, the company had connected to countries around the world and introduced its always-connected wireless data solution.


Java Time Nextel – Becomes the first to introduce a wireless JavaTM phone in North America (with Motorola). 2001


On December 15, 2004, Sprint Corporation and Nextel Communications announced they would merge to form Sprint Nextel Corporation.


Sprint shareholders approved the merger on July 13, 2005.

Sprint Nextel was formed on August 13, 2005, when the deal was completed.

The merger deal was approved by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and United States Department of Justice on August 3, 2005.

In 2005, Sprint Nextel acquired three of its ten wireless affiliates: US Unwired, acquired in August; Gulf Coast Wireless, acquired in October; and IWO Holdings, acquired in October.

On September 1, 2005, Sprint Nextel combined plan offerings of its Sprint and Nextel brands to bring uniformity across the company's offerings.

In 2005, Call-Net and Sprint Canada's 600,000 customers were acquired by Rogers Communications.


Alamosa PCS, which Sprint Nextel acquired on February 2, 2006, was the largest of its affiliate carriers.

In 2006, Sprint spun off its local telephone operations, including the former United Telephone companies and Centel, as Embarq.


As of 2007 the company had over 23 million customers and provided service to over 70 countries.


As of 2009 it was one of the largest cell phone companies in the world.


On October 14, 2012, the Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank announced it intended to purchase 70% of Sprint Nextel Corporation for $20.1 billion.

On November 7, 2012, Sprint Nextel announced the acquisition of 20 MHz of spectrum and 585,000 customers from United States Cellular in Chicago, St Louis, central Illinois and three other Midwest markets.


On June 18, 2013, Dish retracted its bid and decided that it would instead focus on its intent to purchase Clearwire, however on June 26, 2013, Dish also retracted its bid for Clearwire, leaving the road clear for SoftBank to acquire the company.


On March 31, 2015, the United States bankruptcy court approved a $160 million takeover of electronics store chain RadioShack by Standard General.


On January 23, 2017, Sprint announced that they were buying a 33 percent stake in the music streaming service Tidal.

Company Founded
Overland Park, KS
Company Headquarter
Cleyson Brown,Jacob Brown,Elkhan Poladli, MCPM
Company Founders

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