My sister tells me she’s figured out when I am slammed at work: my blog goes silent. She’s right of course. So let me tell you (and her) what I’ve been working on.
First, one of the most interesting projects I spend time on in September and October was the launch of wireless coverage in Washington, D.C.’s Metro. Typically in the wireless business, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless join with Sprint in a fierce competition for customers. This project was different. We worked together.
Here’s the back story.
Last year, the four carriers joined together in a teaming agreement to install a new wireless network for Washington’s subway system. I say network because it’s really one system that all four carriers will plug into. So once it’s fully installed, you won’t see me or the PR people at Sprint’s competitors make any claims about superior coverage in the Metro. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless will all have the same level of coverage as our customers with Nextel, Boost Mobile or Sprint phones. (Previously Verizon has limited coverage in Metro, but this new system enhances their previous offering.)
Right now, we only have 20 underground stations wired and optimization (installing antennas in elevators and above escalators) is still ongoing. By next October, we will have the remaining underground stations wired. By October 2011, we’ll have 50 percent of the tunnels wired and by October 2012, we’ll have the entire system covered.
I think this is fantastic news for commuters who use Metro to get to work and tourists use Metro to visit Washington’s museums and historic sites. But the real big news is not the convenience this offers riders, but the increased public safety. Now when you call 911 from your wireless phone, Metro Police will be able to reach you faster when there is an emergency.
What’s really remarkable is that the engineers from the carriers didn’t have access to the stations until 10 weeks before the service launched on October 16. Even then, engineers could only work four hours a day when Metro was closed. Under ordinary circumstances, this project would have taken about a year — instead we completed it in 10 weeks.
So that’s one project. But that’s not all I’ve been up to. I’ve also helped launch a new phone — the HTC Hero — which has gotten some great reviews. Look for more Android phones from us soon. Also, I worked a very fun announcement we did with the Audubon Society. We now offer bird call ring tones. (I’m not making this up.) Listen.
Even more exciting than these new killer phones is the work I’ve been able to do to help launch Sprint 4G in North Carolina and Texas. Next month, I’m traveling to Austin, San Antonio, Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem to promote Sprint’s 4G service. We’re the first national wireless carrier to offer 4G and it’s amazingly fast. If you live in these cities look for me to visit soon. In planning these launches, I’ve had a chance to meet several bloggers in both states. To a person, they’ve been a bright spot in my day. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person.
Stay tuned for updates here.