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Nextel Snags GSA Mobile Pact

Reston, Va.-based Nextel Communications on Monday announced a $200 million deal with the U.S. General Services Administration to provide emergency wireless services to all federal agencies.

Nextel, known for its two-way walkie-talkie devices that double as a cell phone, said the latest deal would also extend to wireless communications for state and local agencies that have federal funding. It specifically gives Nextel the contract to provide nationwide Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio (ESMR) services and offer interoperability advantages for emergency preparedness and response.

Nextel said the deal includes access to wireless phones and accessories, Nextel's Java-enabled wireless phones, wireless packet data tools, Nextel Direct Connect long-range two-way walkie-talkie feature, messaging services, Custom Network Solutions and an emergency response rental program.

The company plans to deliver the services on its "always on" digital voice and packet data network.

The latest deal is an extension of a previous pact between Nextel and the federal government, which was awarded in 1999. Nextel has the option to extend the deal for two more years with three additional one-year options, bringing the total potential value up to $1 billion over the five-year period.