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Nextel gets airwaves to ease radio problem

July 9, 2004 at 10:10 AM

NEW YORKL, July 9 (UPI) -- Nextel Communications has won additional U.S. airwave space to help end interference between its phones and public safety radios.

The decision favoring the wireless carrier, following an intensive battle, came in a unanimous decision by the Federal Communications Commission. Rivals immediately denounced the decision and the matter almost certainly will wind up in court, the Wall Street Journal said.

In a deal worth $4.8 billion, the FCC voted 5-0 Thursday to grant Nextel's request for a 10-megahertz swath of prized spectrum, capable of handling new services such as wireless Web browsing.

In return, Nextel would return portions of its interference-causing airwaves valued at roughly $1.6 billion and agree to spend at least $3.2 billion to help relocate affected users.

"Today it's more important than ever before that public safety agencies have access to reliable, robust, interference-free communications systems," FCC Chairman Michael Powell said in a statement.

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