Sprint Nextel may push feds to talk

The planned merger of Sprint and Nextel could give government customers new options in push-to-talk technologies, one of Nextel's strengths.

Many agencies use such instant communications services, mostly built on mobile radio technologies, said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting. The merger, which the boards of both companies have approved, will bring Nextel technology to Sprint customers, he said.

"Agencies that are running their own push-to-talk operations, and there are a lot of them, are going to be under pressure to change their services to get better efficiency," Suss said. "They're all going to be under budget pressure. The kind of thing Nextel can offer is an interesting alternative."

The merger could also make the company, to be called Sprint Nextel, a stronger competitor both on the existing FTS 2001 communications services contract and the forthcoming Networx vehicle, he added.

"This will give Sprint an opportunity to add Nextel capabilities to [Sprint's] FTS 2001 contract and offer an additional set of services," Suss said. "For the future, it strengthens their play on Networx because it gives them a much broader array of services in the push-to-talk area."

In fact, the merger will make the wireless market even more competitive, said Nick Wray, vice president of strategic sourcing for Control Point Solutions, a telecommunications cost management firm.

"This consolidation, particularly of the technologies, will create a true competitor for giants of the wireless industry like Verizon and Cingular" Wireless he said. "The resulting company would combine Sprint's large corporate customer base and network and Nextel's extremely loyal customer base."

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