The shutting down of Sprint’s Nextel Network is increasing competition among wireless companies
As Sprint Nextel Corporation is in the final stages of shuttering the Nextel network, competition is heating up as wireless companies begin to chase Nextel’s push-to-talk customers. In 2005, Sprint and Nextel came together through a $36 billion “merger of equals” as an attempt to challenge its two larger rivals, Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The merger failed to accomplish what both companies had intended, and Nextel Network is expected to be completely shut down as early as June 30, 2013. With the death of Nextel, we are seeing an increase in competition among wireless firms seeking to grab those push-to-talk Nextel customers.
Push-to-talk is a niche service using iDEN technology that allows customers to communicate instantly as they would with a walkie-talkie. This service feature is popular among business customers in industries like manufacturing and construction. Sprint has found itself battling against large competitors to retain such customers and sell more services to business customers. Tom Roberts, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sprint believes that up to this point, it has been Sprint and Verizon battling it out for customers. However, with AT&T strategizing to grab customers affected by the Nextel shut down, the wireless companies have noticed increasingly stiff competition.
AT&T implemented a similar push-to-talk service this month and “plans to capture as much share as possible with the iDEN migration” said Chris Hill, who runs AT&T Inc.’s Advanced Solutions business. Chief executive of AT&T, Ralph de la Vega, predicts that this recent launch of enhanced push-to-talk service will boost customer additions for the company. While the three largest wireless companies fight to grab customers, Nextel network is slowly, but surely, coming to an end. Since the beginning of 2011 until the end of September, the company lost 3.4 million customers with about 2.3 million remaining. Sprint will continue to push customers off the Nextel network, aiming for more than 2 million by mid-2013.
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