Sprint offers high school students a million free wireless devices
In an effort to help bridge America’s digital divide, Sprint announced today that it will provide a million wireless devices and service to disadvantaged high school students. Dubbed the “1Million Project,” it’ll give kids the choice of a free phone, tablet, hotspot or computer, together with 3 gigabytes of LTE data (along with free 2G data beyond that) and free voice and text. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure (who is also a founding member of the One Laptop Per Child project) says he hopes to get the equipment out to students within five years.
Specifically, Sprint is hoping to help underpriviliged students who can’t afford to have internet access at home. That puts them at a severe disadavantage when it comes to getting homework done, especially now that more teachers expect students to use the internet to complete their assignments. The 1Million Project comes on top of Sprint’s participation in the White House’s ConnectedEd initiative, which provides wireless internet to 500,000 students in low-income districts.
While it might seem surprising to see a struggling company giving out free equipment, Claure says the cost to Sprint will be fairly minimal. It’s not that tough to offer service to new devices (especially since the company has lost plenty of subscribers over the years), and it’ll also get the equipment from manufacturers for free. When it comes to choosing which devices students get, Claure says Sprint will be working with school districts to figure out what exactly is needed by their students.