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Sprint to Support Launch of IMA LTE Acceleration Lab for Startups in Israel

Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today its plan to support an LTE acceleration lab in Tel Aviv, Israel, later in 2013. In collaboration with the Israel Mobile & Media Association (IMA), the LTE lab will add significant momentum to the Israeli-based ecosystem of startups and developers. Well-known for its prowess in the high-tech industry, Israel is ranked second behind Silicon Valley among top startup ecosystems.*

During the past several years, Sprint has been actively supporting the IMA’s acceleration lab. Today’s announcement marks a new level of engagement. Sprint’s role in the LTE acceleration lab will be to enable startups and developers to access the platforms they need to ideate and build. Rather than Sprint’s driving what developers and startups do in the lab, Sprint will allow the ecosystem to determine the projects and direction of work in the lab.

“Sprint was open to taking a totally different approach through the structure of this lab, allowing the mobile ecosystem to innovate on Sprint’s LTE network,” said Eyal Reshef, founder and CEO of IMA. “Letting startups run at their natural fast pace and assisting them to scale their products is the best of both worlds, ultimately enhancing Sprint customers’ mobile experience. We look forward to the LTE lab opening later this year.”

“As a complement to our efforts to unlock innovation in the United States, this Sprint-sponsored LTE acceleration lab will allow startups and developers in Israel valuable access to dramatically speed up their time to market,” said Stephen Bye, Sprint chief technology officer, who made the announcement in advance of the Jan. 31 4G Israel Conference in Tel Aviv. “We are committed to an open developer environment, creating opportunities for innovative services, products and technologies to be developed and launched on the Sprint LTE network.”

At the LTE lab, startups will be welcome to work on their ideas, collaborate with other companies, and see what evolves, with minimal carrier direction. Although Sprint will benefit from having an early look at the technology that may result from this collaborative effort, Sprint has an open approach to development and support for the environment.

Sprint also is leveraging its vendor relationships to enable the ecosystem to trial and test new products on the latest LTE network technology and advanced mobile devices. The equipment will be provided by Alcatel-Lucent, and the lab will collaborate with their ng Connect Program, an Alcatel-Lucent-founded multi-industry ecosystem dedicated to the creation of the next-generation user experience for connected consumers.

As another extension of Sprint’s open approach, Bye and his team are meeting with many startups while in Tel Aviv for the IMA Conference. Through its “opportunity funnel” program, Sprint has explored hundreds of new opportunities with startups and developers in the Silicon Valley, the Silicon Prairie and other U.S. markets, Israel, Korea and around the globe.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served nearly 56 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About IMA

The Israel Mobile & Media Association (IMA) is a rich and diverse mobile and media ecosystem, delivering market ready innovation since 2002. IMA accelerates the go-to-market of more than 100 startups and mature companies from its portfolio. IMA collaborates with selected partners, including mobile operators, publishers, new media, and network and handset vendors to substantially increase the startups’ commercial product launch. You can learn more at www.imaworld.org or www.twitter.com/IMA_Live.

*Source: “Startup Ecosystem Report 2012,” Startup Genome, November 2012.
(http://blog.startupcompass.co/)

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