Sprint Spins Off Embarq Local-Phone Business

Sprint Nextel Corp. put the final touches on the much-anticipated spinoff of its local telephone business, freeing the company to concentrate on its mobile-communications business.

Embarq Corp. is now an independent, publicly traded company, with each Sprint Nextel shareholder receiving one share of Embarq common stock for every 20 shares of Sprint Nextel stock they own. Stockholders received a cash payout for any fractional shares of Embarq stock they would have acquired.

Completing the spinoff of the local landline-voice service -- which does not include Sprint Nextel’s digital-subscriber-line unit -- is an important step for the company, CEO Gary Forsee said in a prepared statement.

"Our company is now positioned to focus on our vision of converging our unique wireless and Internet wireline assets to create an entirely new suite of mobility and IP-based [Internet protocol] products and services for our customers,” he added.

Going forward, Sprint Nextel will continue to build on its “Sprint Power Vision” broadband Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) network, which will reach 190 million people by the end of the year.

The company is also on track to launch the first services under a joint venture with cable operators Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks, with plans to field service in seven pilot cities later this year. A next-generation service based on that integrated cable-wireless service is planned for national rollout in 2007.