Report: Sprint Thinking of Spinning off Nextel

Sprint Nextel is looking at selling or spinning off its Nextel unit, after acquiring it less than three years ago, according to a news report.

Sprint, which closed its merger with Nextel in August 2005, is looking at several options, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Cyren Call, a company founded by Nextel founder Morgan O'Brien, is looking for investors to acquire Nextel as part of its efforts to provide a wireless network for public safety agencies, such as police and fire departments, the Journal report said.

In recent months, Cyren Call has served as an advisor to the Public Safety Spectrum Trust, a nonprofit group of public safety agencies that was awarded 10MHz of wireless spectrum in the 700MHz band by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Spokespeople for Sprint and Cyren Call weren't immediately available for comment.

The US$35 billion merger deal that closed in 2005 created a company with about 44 million mobile subscribers. But the company has posted lackluster financial results, and there's been speculation that Deutsche Telekom is interested in buying Sprint.

Sprint in February reported net revenue of $9.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2007, down from $10.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. The company's net loss for the quarter was $29.5 billion, compared to a net income of $261 million a year earlier.

The company is scheduled to report its first quarter 2008 numbers May 12.

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