Sprint to offer 1 million students free mobile devices

The carrier promises to give 1 million low-income high school students free mobile devices and internet access.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
Enlarge Image

Sprint is reaching out to teens in lower-income families.

Christopher Dilts, Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sprint, in partnership with the Sprint Foundation, is launching the 1Million Project, a multiyear program that plans to give 1 million disadvantaged high school students in the United States access to a free mobile device and high-speed internet.

Inspired by President Barack Obama 's ConnectED and My Brother's Keeper projects, the 1Million Project aims to reduce the "homework gap" that affects families with children in school who do not have internet access at home. The Pew Research Center says there are 5 million such families in the US.

"Education is the foundation for our society to prosper," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said Tuesday in a statement, "and the internet is an incredibly powerful tool for learning. But it's a huge problem in America that we have 5 million households with children that lack internet connections. Those kids have a huge disadvantage and we are failing them."

Sprint plans to work with nonprofits EveryoneOn and My Brother's Keeper to hand out a free phone, tablet, laptop or hotspot, as well as 3GB of LTE data each month. After pilots in a handful of markets, Sprint aims to roll out the program nationwide by the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

Watch this: Sprint says it may keep two-year contracts after all