Sprint-Nextel: First Marital Tiff

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Sprint-Nextel: First Marital Tiff

Post by CVX »

The proposed merger of Sprint and Nextel Communications could face a rocky start as the companies work to run and eventually merge two wireless technologies without breaking the bank or losing customers.

On the surface, it's as though a bride and groom decided to tie the knot even though they don't speak the same language. Though a happy, long-lasting marriage isn't out of the question, a considerable amount of effort is required. Nextel was something of a loner in the wireless standards it used, and now its suitor will have to make adjustments beyond the usual merger challenges.

With Nextel, Sprint is acquiring 15.3 million subscribers and a network based on Motorola's Integrated Digital Enhanced Network, or iDEN, digital radio technology. But iDEN doesn't work with the Code Division Multiple Access, or CDMA, the standard used by Sprint's 20.1 million existing subscribers.

For the combined Sprint-Nextel to take full advantage of the merger, a lot of infrastructure — the base stations and other equipment that carries calls — would have to change. In addition, customers would have to get new phones.

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