Significant progress has been made in clearing Channel 1-120 licensees in the 800 MHz reconfiguration, Sprint Nextel announced yesterday, which marks the first official anniversary of the rebanding project.

So far, 50% of all affected Channel 1-120 licensees—operators that must be relocated so that NPSPAC licensees can be moved to the frequencies—in Wave 1 and Wave 2 have moved to their new airwaves within the 800 MHz band. In addition, 96% of Wave 1 licensees and 97% of Wave 2 licensees have signed frequency relocation agreements to move.

Sprint Nextel is not prepared to release figures regarding Wave 3, but “we are making good progress” with those licensees, Sprint Nextel spokesman Tim O’Regan said.

Under an FCC order issued almost two years ago, Sprint Nextel is required to pay for rebanding, which is supposed to be finished in a 36-month period that began on June 27, 2005, assuming the U.S. government can sign necessary treaties with border countries Canada and Mexico in a timely manner.

“We are confident we will meet the FCC’s deadlines according to their guidelines,” O’Regan said.

Sprint Nextel has worked with the Transition Administrator (TA) and public-safety officials to establish new procedures to help meet this goal, including a “fast track” option for planning-funding applications. In addition, the wireless carrier created a Public Safety Advisory Board to facilitate communications about rebanding between the company and public-safety officials.

“They are vital tool in making sure public safety knows how to contact us and, when they have issues of mutual concern, they know the advisory board is there to assist them,” O’Regan said.

Sprint Nextel currently has more than 100 employees assigned to the rebanding effort, according to the company.

“Today marks an important milestone for our company and I thank my colleagues at Sprint Nextel as well as the many dedicated public safety officials and private wireless licensees who have made the process work,” Robert Foosaner, Sprint Nextel’s senior vice president of government affairs, said in a prepared statement. “As we continue our hard work in Waves 3 and 4 and Phase 2, I encourage all parties to work together toward completing 800 MHz reconfiguration and eliminating interference to public safety communications."