Sprint will be prevented from fully shuttering its WiMAX network as scheduled on Friday after a Massachusetts judge granted a temporary injunction requested by two non-profit organizations who utilize the service.
At the start of last week, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen filed a lawsuit against Sprint to stop the shutdown. The organizations claimed the carrier had failed to live up to the terms of its licensing agreements and would leave move than a quarter million vulnerable citizens who receive internet services through the non-profits in the lurch with the shutdown.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts court issued an emergency relief order that will compel Sprint to maintain the WiMAX network in certain areas for 90 days while Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen migrate their users to Sprint’s LTE network.
“Today, the courts preserved a lifeline for the communities and families we serve,” Katherine Messier, managing director of Mobile Beacon, said in a statement. “We hope Sprint will now work with us to ensure the elderly, disabled, students and other vulnerable populations who rely on our service can transition to LTE quickly and avoid any disruption in service.”
However, Sprint has previously contended that Mobile Citizen and Mobile Beacon fight is a manufactured crisis. According to Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Vinge Walsh, the organizations are just two of around 1,000 Educational Broadband Service (EBS) providers Sprint works with, 85 percent of whom have already made the switch to the 4G network.
“Just like the vast majority of these other EBS licensees, Mobile Citizen and Mobile Beacon could have transitioned their services to the new 4G network, but they chose not to,” Walsh said. “We have been attempting in good faith to negotiate with them, work with them and present new resolutions to them for many months now and rather than negotiate a resolution to this private contract dispute they have chosen to not transition their customers.”
“We’re not surprised by this tactic, but we’re disappointed that Mobile Citizen and Mobile beacon have failed to act in the best interest of the clients they claim to serve by not responding to our offers over this past year and a half,” she said.
Sprint has not yet returned a request for comment on Thursday’s ruling.