Sprint has teamed up with Google in an attempt to lure in more business customers. The nation's third-largest wireless network operator will offer Google Apps for Business beginning in August, which it promises to deliver seamlessly across its mobile network. The move could help stem Sprint's customer defections to rivals AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
Sprint will offer the entire Google Apps suite, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sites. These communication and collaboration tools will allow businesses of any size to remain in touch and be productive. Google Docs' word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps cover the basics in terms of getting work done, and everything can be shared effortlessly through the cloud. These tools are available from any Web browser as well as through Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, thanks to dedicated apps.
"Employees are more mobile and decentralized, so the need for robust office productivity, collaboration, and secure file storage for businesses large and small are simply a reflection of the degree to which the very nature of the workplace is changing,” said Mike Sapien, principal analyst at Ovum.
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In addition to the apps, Sprint will provide service and support for businesses that need it. For example, Sprint will help businesses deploy Google Apps across their organization and help plan their use, as well as provide round-the-clock support and training at no charge. Sprint can further help mobilize Google Apps across employee devices no matter where they are. Sprint believes it can help simplify IT management and help its business customers improve their operations.
Sprint claims its network has the strength and resiliency to back these services up. The company has spent the past year invigorating its network with new technology. For example, the company launched Sprint Spark last fall, which uses three spectrum bands to provide the best-possible connection to its LTE network. Sprint Spark is limited to the countries' largest markets, however, and covers only about 100 million people. Sprint's standard LTE network covers most major markets around the country at this point.
One of the most compelling new tools being offered by Sprint is Wi-Fi Calling. The service connects phone calls and sends text messages through local Wi-Fi networks rather than the cellular network. Not only is call quality significantly better, but offloading to Wi-Fi can help businesses save money. Only about a half dozen smartphones in Sprint's lineup include this functionality, but it is free to use.
“There is a growing need for solutions built around mobile collaboration that is both well integrated and reliable. The role that Sprint will serve as a major mobility provider with integrated Google Apps represents a very significant step towards helping businesses meet that need," Sapien said.
Sprint has always fought hard for business customers. Its legacy iDEN network and walkie-talkie phones were hugely popular with enterprises for nearly a decade. Perhaps this partnership with Google will entice business customers to return to Sprint.
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