Sprint is offering subscribers with BlackBerry and Android-running smartphones a new way to protect their data. The carrier's Total Equipment Protection coverage now includes an application that enables users to remotely lock their smartphones, erase their contacts from a lost phone, and back up, manage and restore contact information.
Devices can also be made to sound an alarm, even when in silent mode, or can be located on a map using the phone's GPS technology."Anyone who has lost a phone knows that their personal information is possibly just as vulnerable as if their computer was hacked," John Carney, senior vice president of consumer marketing for Sprint, said in a Feb. 28 statement. "Now, Sprint customers have peace of mind knowing that their personal and private information is safe. TEP and this accompanying application is a safeguard for customers who want protection from not only loss, but misuse and unauthorized access."Sprint's TEP plan runs $7 a month, though the new Protection app can be added at no additional charge. Customers can access the application at sprint.com/protection.On Feb. 10, Sprint - the nation's third-largest carrier after Verizon Wireless and AT&T - announced the results of its fiscal 2010 fourth quarter, which saw the addition of 1.1 million wireless subscribers and its best-ever fourth quarter churn rates."It had been almost five years since we added over a million customers in a quarter, and the annual improvement in postpaid subscriber results of 2.7 million vs. the previous year is unprecedented in the history of the U.S. wireless industry," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement.The Sprint announcement came on the same day that Verizon began offering an Apple iPhone 4, which Hesse acknowledged would likely have an effect that Sprint planned to combat with a strong device lineup, attractive offers and by keeping things simple, which for now includes an unlimited data plan.Sprint now also faces added competition in the 4G space, as in late 2010 Verizon and T-Mobile each launched networks - LTE (long-term evolution) and HSPA+, respectively - and earlier this year AT&T began describing its HSPA+ network as 4G, and additionally plans to begin rolling out 4G LTE later this year.Last week, Sprint showed off a little more of that promised strong device lineup with the introduction of the HTC Arrive. The Arrive is the first CDMA-based smartphone - versus GSM based, such as AT&T and T-Mobile's phones - to run Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 OS. Featuring a 3.6-inch capacitive touch screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a 5-megapixel camera, it will go on sale March 20 for $199.Sprint's RIM BlackBerry offerings include the Curve 3G, while its Android lineup includes the HTC Evo 4G, HTC Evo Shift 4G, Samsung Epic 4G and the recently introduced Kyocera Echo - the market's first dual-screen Android phone.