Nextel pursues spectrum swap
Nextel Communications Inc. looked to start Christmas early Tuesday with an offer for a wireless spectrum swap. The No. 5 wireless carrier in the States indicated it would pay $850 million to upgrade public safety communications in exchange for bandwidth it says it would use to boost services.
Nextel officials told federal regulators they would raise backing to retune equipment of public safety agencies and others on the 800 MHz band so they could communicate without interference.
The 800 MHz band carries traffic from public safety operators and private wireless operators. For more than a year, the Reston, Virginia-based carrier has lobbied the FCC to create additional blocks of spectrum on the 800 MHz band to avoid interference with police and fire department airwaves.
Critics say the swap plan may solve many public safety interference problems in the U.S., but the 10 MHz of nationwide spectrum at potential 3G frequencies that Nextel hopes to acquire may be unfair to the rest of the mobile wireless community.