Sprint ventures chooses name; needs shop, CEO

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The wireless venture formed by Sprint, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications and Tele-Communications Inc. officially renamed itself Sprint Spectrum last week, as expected.

But in addition to searching for a new agency, Sprint Spectrum also is looking for a new chief executive. CEO Ronald LeMay was named president-chief operating officer of parent Sprint.

In the new role, Mr. LeMay will oversee Sprint Spectrum and Global One, Sprint's alliance with France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. He will also spearhead expansion into local service.


In the running for the estimated $30 million account are incumbent J. Walter Thompson USA, Hal Riney & Partners and Goldberg Moser O'Neill, all San Francisco; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor, both New York.

Sprint Spectrum is planning to establish five regional headquarters to manage marketing and sales operations. The venture--which originally planned to offer bundled wireless and local services--now plans to offer only wireless service to approximately 180 million people in 25 markets, including New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, Miami, Denver and Seattle, by yearend.

Directors of each region, to be named within several months, will report to A. Allan Kurtze, director of technology deployment and engineering.


Local service offerings will be handled on a market-by-market basis with individual deals formed between Sprint and its cable partners. Advertising and marketing of local service also will be handled regionally.

"A blanket local-service deal was too costly and too inflexible for the changing economic and regulatory landscape across the country," said a Sprint spokesman. "All the partners involved felt it was smarter to handle wireline local service on a market by market basis."

To make sure the partners continue "down the same path," Sprint Spectrum formed a Partners Committee, under Mr. LeMay, that focuses on partner activities related to their ownership of Sprint Spectrum, including activities that integrate wireline and wireless services.

Alice Z. Cuneo and Pat Sloan contributed to this story.

Copyright February 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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