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What's Next From Nextel

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 18, 2003

What's next from Nextel? Nationwide direct connect. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Nextel Communications has used its Direct Connect, walkie talkie feature, to separate itself from its rivals in the wireless phone service business. This summer... it is rolling out new Direct Connect capability. Nextel's Audrey Schaefer...

"It's a digital walkie talkie service that will work anywhere in the nation as of August 1st. Right now it's operational in almost half of the country and it enables people to push one button and instantly get hold of someone else they want to speak with."

Nextel, with about eleven million subscribers, has seen its stock price increase about 250 percent over the last year... .and more than 9 out of 10 customers use the Direct Connect feature. Those wanting unlimited nationwide Direct Connect will pay an extra ten dollars a month. While rivals have announced plans to introduce walkie talkie services, Nextel continues to capitalize on the feature...

"From what everything we understand about other people's attempts at it, their service will not match ours and our customers won't tolerate anything other than instant communication that's dependable. So we feel extremely gratified about where we are. We actually believe that we will benefit if a competitor comes out with an inferior service."

And the possibility exists that Nextel will eventually add global Direct Connect service... relying on satellites to expand the network. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.