NATION BRIEFS

Nextel Communications Inc. announced the option exercise and issuance of 10 million common shares to the McCaw Family in a non-cash transaction. The McCaw Family options, which were to expire July 28, were split into two tranches. The first is an option to acquire 15 million shares at an exercise price of $16 per share, and the other is an option for 10 million shares at an exercise price of $18 per share.

BellSouth Corp. last month expanded its Complete Choice plan to wireless and multiline customers. The Complete Choice plan, which was introduced nearly two years ago, offers customers basic service plus 20 advanced calling features for a single flat-rate price. Customers also will be able to integrate charges for local telephone service, cellular service and Internet access onto a single bill.

U S West announced it is using Lucent Technologies Inc.’s PathStar Access Concentrator (AC) 120 to provide soft hand-offs of wireless calls on its Code Division Multiple Access network. Rather than disconnecting a signal from one base station while transferring it to another as is done in a hard hand-off, CDMA soft hand-off connects callers with as many as three base stations, making the transfer virtually unnoticeable to customers.

InterDigital Communications Corp. submitted an air interface standard to a recently formed Telecommunications Industry Association working group for fixed wireless access. Based on its broadband Code Division Multiple Access technology, InterDigital’s proposed standard includes voice and data transmission at all conventional data rates up to 384 kilobits per second, with growth to 2 Megabits per second.

Sprint Spectrum L.P., which operates a personal communications services network under the Sprint PCS name, expanded its network through 10 affiliation agreements. Sprint signed agreements with AirGate Wireless L.L.C., Alamosa PCS L.L.C., Enterprise Communications and Southwest PCS L.P. The agreements cover key cities in 11 states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

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