Sprint Nextel Finalizes Four More Markets

Sprint Nextel this week said it finished moving broadcasters ENG operations in four more markets, bringing the total to 69 stations in 19 markets. The new additions are Houston, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va.

“The transition went very smoothly,” said Richard Monn, chief engineer at WESH in Orlando. “We had great communication and cooperation among the stations and there were no surprises. What was supposed to happen did happen.”

The Overland Park, Kan. cell phone operator is replacing field operations gear for broadcasters around the country per its deal with the FCC to move into the 2 GHz spectrum. The company announced a month ago that the job was 4 percent complete. The additional completions bump it up to just 5 percent, but increased momentum is indicated given the first 4 percent took nearly three years.

The total number of stations retooled stands at 67 in 19 markets, but that doesn’t mean all 19 markets are completed. All stations in each market have to be transitioned before the market itself is considered “retuned.” Other completed markets include Tucson, Ariz.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Beaumont, Laredo, and Victoria, Texas. About 90 percent of effected broadcasters have finalized quote packages for new gear, Sprint said.

The deadline for the project was extended from September of last year to March of next year.