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NEXTEL SEEKS COFETEL MEETING

NEW YORK-Comunicacion Nextel de Mexico SA executives were scheduled to meet late last week with officials of the Mexico Federal Telecommunications Commission, or Cofetel, to resolve an apparent disagreement about what kinds of wireless services its licenses permit it to offer.

Two wire service stories, one published June 30 by Bloomberg News, the other on July 1 by Infolatina, reported that Cofetel ordered Nextel to stop advertising mobile telephony and paging services, for which it doesn’t have licenses, or face fines.

Keith Grinstein, president and chief operating officer, and Robert Laing, assistant general counsel, for Nextel International Inc., Seattle, told RCR July 8 that Nextel had not received any notification of any such action from Cofetel.

They said Nextel sought the meeting with Cofetel following the published reports and had voluntarily suspended image advertising in the meantime because “there is no reason to create more conflict when we are in a pre-launch stage,” Grinstein said.

Nextel has specialized mobile radio licenses covering a population of 43 million in Mexico. It hopes to launch its first enhanced SMR service in Mexico in the greater Mexico City metropolitan area by fall, Grinstein said. Ultimately, the goal is to serve all of the country’s major cities and the major road arteries connecting them.

The SMR licenses “are on the same frequency as in the [United States],” Laing said.

“They are not technology specific (as to) analog or digital.”

As it has elsewhere, both within and outside the United States, Nextel will deploy the integrated Enhanced Digital Network, the digital SMR technology of Motorola Inc.

iDEN permits a single handset to provide a wide array of mobile communications services beyond simple two-way dispatch radio, including digital cellular telephony, alphanumeric messaging and data and fax transmission. The technology’s capabilities are widely understood, Grinstein said.

Furthermore, he said, the parameters set forth in Nextel’s licenses in Mexico are a lot more airtight in their authorization of the carrier’s multiple services offering than are those in other foreign countries, where Nextel already operates commercially.

Nextel also is involved in iDEN networks offering service in Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Japan.

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