Sprint PCS

Sprint PCS isn't the biggest fish in the wireless pond, but it is adding customers faster than anyone.

Sprint PCS isnt the biggest fish in the wireless pond, but it is adding customers faster than anyone.

"Weve led the industry for three consecutive years in terms of adding new customers, and have every chance of continuing our unbroken streak," says Scott Relf, senior vice president of marketing at the company.

In the first quarter of 2001, Sprint PCS added more than 1 million new users, including 800,000 direct customers and 50,000 resale customers. Today, Sprint PCS has slightly more than 10 million subscribers.

The company has experienced strong growth in its wireless Web services, in particular, adding 1 million customers since the September 1999 launch.

Today, the companys Wireless Web delivers data at 14.4 kilobits per second, but gets speeds of up to 56 Kbps with compression. However, Sprint PCS next-generation technology promises to increase those speeds by a factor of 10, Relf says. "If compression is as effective as it is in our first generation, the actual throughput will be a multiple of that."

Sprint has added other features as well. About a year ago, the company launched its Voice Command service, which allows users to control their phones using verbal commands. "This service is growing even faster than the Wireless Web," Relf says. "Although many customers are very interested in what data can do for them, it is still the minority of total customers. For many, voice-commanded features offer them cool technology in ways they want to use it."

Led by President Charles E. Levine, Sprint PCS continues development of wireless handsets and devices that are easier to use and more affordable. The company is working with Palm, and in March said it will work with Samsung on a compact, full-color screen handset that includes the Palm operating system.