Sprint dials into Web hosting business

The long-distance giant unveils a new e-Solutions business unit focused on Web hosting, high-speed Internet access and e-business services.

As part of its conversion from a long-distance giant to a data-focused telecommunications business, Sprint on Monday announced the creation of a new unit to focus on the growing market for business services.

The new unit, called e-Solutions, will offer businesses Web hosting, high-speed Internet access and e-business services. It will combine two divisions, Sprint Internet Services and Sprint Enterprise Network Services.

Sprint recently joined AT&T and WorldCom in announcing a shift away from consumer long-distance and its declining revenues. In Sprint's case, chief executive William Esrey said the company will use its digital fiber-optic network and Internet backbone to expand its data services.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company is expected to face fierce competition in these markets from large companies such as WorldCom, with its acquisition of a controlling interest in Digex, Nortel Networks and a number of smaller entities.

The president of e-Solutions will be Keith Paglusch, who has held executive positions at Sprint and Sprint PCS. He will oversee the delivery of services such as managed hosting, transport, remote systems management, security services, virtual private networking and application database management.

"The formation of Sprint e-Solutions is a natural progression at Sprint for our Internet and managed services," Paglusch said in a statement. "We are seeing an insatiable demand from our customers for e-business services."

In a separate move, Sprint announced Monday it will incorporate voice into its wireless Web offering.