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AgFirst Farm Credit Bank Selects Sprint for Comprehensive Network Services; Sprint Demonstrates Data Leadership and Flexibility in Working With Financial Customer.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprint today announced a new three-year contract with AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, which is a part of the Farm Credit System. Through this contract, Sprint will provide a variety of data services including frame relay, a customer premise equipment (CPE)-based Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IPVPN) and Sprint Managed Network(SM) Services.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20001013/SPRINTLOGO )

AgFirst's objective was to partner with a market leader in telecommunication network systems and services with a proven track record on network reliability and customer focus. "Network uptime, reliability and performance are critical to our bank and customer association operations to transact business daily," said Robert Zeman, Vice President - Information Management Services, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank.

Equally important to AgFirst was a flexible network arrangement that positioned its customer associations to make sound business decisions based on performance. "In Sprint, we found a network provider with the desired proven track record. Sprint partnered with AgFirst to integrate new services with existing components, for an overall comprehensive network solution; one that will help us save money and streamline communications," said Zeman. "Additionally, having a Sprint account team available locally has helped ensure ease of implementation and contributed to a stronger and potentially long-term relationship."

Sprint's frame-relay and IPVPN data services will help provide secure and reliable network connectivity between the AgFirst headquarters located in Columbia, S.C., and AgFirst's 23 associations representing more than 300 locations throughout 15 eastern states and Puerto Rico.

"Sprint's solid technological expertise, along with the flexibility of the account team as they determined how best to meet AgFirst's needs, demonstrates the ease of doing business with Sprint," said Gary Linsin, regional vice president, Sprint Business Solutions. "Sprint can provide innovative solutions based on the depth of our data portfolio to meet the security and reliability needs of financial institutions like AgFirst."

Sprint is managing and maintaining a variety of Cisco equipment for AgFirst as part of the overall IPVPN solution. Sprint and Cisco are aligned in a strategic alliance that focuses on meeting customer needs for IP equipment and services through shared market research, joint development of new products and technologies, and joint sales and marketing.

The financial services industry is a key vertical segment for Sprint and beneficiary of a customized portfolio of voice and data solutions to help keep financial-services firms connected and working well. Sprint Solutions(SM) for Financial Services can deliver integrated wireline and wireless technology, top-ranking network reliability, business-continuity solutions, industry-leading service level agreements and around-the-clock managed security.

About Sprint

Sprint is a global integrated communications provider serving more than 26 million customers in over 100 countries. With approximately 65,000 employees worldwide and over $26 billion in annual revenues in 2003, Sprint is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying state-of-the-art network technologies, including the United States' first nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network and an award-winning Tier 1 Internet backbone. Sprint provides local communications services in 39 states and the District of Columbia and operates the largest 100-percent digital, nationwide PCS wireless network in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.sprint.com/ .

About AgFirst Farm Credit Bank

With assets of $15.9 billion, AgFirst Farm Credit Bank is the largest financial institution headquartered in South Carolina. The bank provides funding and financial services to 23 Agricultural Credit Associations (ACAs) and their wholly-owned subsidiaries in 15 eastern states and Puerto Rico. These associations, operating as Farm Credit and Ag Credit associations, provide real estate and production financing to more than 90,000 farmers, agribusinesses, and rural homeowners. AgFirst is part of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of agricultural and rural lending institutions cooperatively owned by their borrowers. The Farm Credit System reported combined assets of $116.9 billion on December 31, 2003. For more information about AgFirst, visit http://www.agfirst.com/ .

CONTACT: Stephanie Taliaferro of Sprint, +1-913-794-3658, or stephanie.c.taliaferro@mail.sprint.com

Web site: http://www.agfirst.com/ http://www.sprint.com/
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Date:Jun 21, 2004
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