Sprint to invest $150 million, hire 1,000 in Chicago

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Sprint doubled down on Chicago Tuesday, announcing plans to invest $150 million and add more than 1,000 jobs here by the end of 2016.

In March, the company launched its Sprint for Chicago plan to improve customer service, simplify the brand experience and enhance its network with plans to create 300 new jobs and invest $45 million.

On Tuesday, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure upped the ante during a rooftop news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the Loews Hotel.

“Chicago is a critically important city for us because we’re showcasing our progress and we’re showcasing our advanced network. With that, we’re going to make sure that the residents of Chicago have the most advanced network that they’ve ever had,” Claure said.

“When I first met with the mayor, we discussed opportunities of working together. I wanted to choose one city that we could bring all of our innovation first. … I believe in not only meeting expectations, but exceeding them,” he said.

The 750 additional jobs include retail personnel, expert technicians, engineers and what Claure called “other technologies that allow the company to better service” its customers.

“In real estate, everybody says, `Location, location, location.’ In my industry, everybody says, `Network, network, network.’ We’re committed to investing in the network so the residents of Chicago have access to the most advanced wireless network in the world,” Claure said.

He said Chicago will be the launch city for a new program called “Direct to You,” which will take the in-store experience to customers’ homes.

“You’re going to see cars zipping around Chicago so we can go to customers’ homes, customers’ businesses, to the parks — wherever they want to get Sprint services,” Claure said.

As Sprint expands and upgrades across the country, Claure said Sprint has also decided to have “one centralized technology center to run its entire deployment of network across the country.” Most of those employees will be located in Chicago.

Emanuel thanked Sprint for picking Chicago as the “premier city for not only your job creation but your investment.”

“It helps us not only create the jobs of today and tomorrow, but also lay the foundation economically for our neighborhoods to participate in that economic growth,” the mayor said.

“You could have picked any city for your new network and the speed that it will bring and the capability that it will bring. But you picked Chicago as ground zero for the next generation … making Chicago Sprint’s second home.”

Chicago will become the first Sprint city upgraded to a faster network with the deployment of LTE Advanced technologies.

As part of the upgrade, new cell sites with be located across the city in areas around the Rush University Medical Center, Garfield Park and along CTA subway routes as part of an upgrade of the subway system’s wireless network to 4G.

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