As new Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse looks to revive the struggling wireless carrier, the company says one thing is off the table: They’re not getting rid of Nextel, the walkie-talkie service they acquired for $35 billion in 2005.
In an unexpected release, Sprint says it will work on marketing and improving the service this year, including getting Nextel phones — which operate on their own network — to work better with Sprint’s faster wireless data network.
Nextel has been responsible for a big chunk of Sprint’s customer losses in recent quarters. Earlier this month, Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk estimated that Nextel’s customer base will shrink about 25% this year, from about 13 million subs to less than 10 million. He also wrote that Sprint should immediately put the Nextel unit up for sale, “as it is clearly incapable of reversing the downward trend” itself.
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