Verizon, Nextel Make Spectrum Peace

After months of vitriol, Verizon Wireless said it will drop its objections
to Nextel’s controversial spectrum swap agreement with
the federal government.

In return, Nextel will forego trademark rights to the phrase “push-to-talk,”
“PTT,” and all related “push” names in relation to walkie-talkie
technology.

The truce was announced in a brief statement this morning. Other settlement
terms were not disclosed.

In addition, the companies, “in the spirit of cooperation,” said they would
work together with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet
Association to “protect wireless customers from harmful regulation and
unfair taxation.”

The rivals did not offer specifics and spokespersons were not immediately
available for comment.

Today’s settlement ends months of bad blood. In July, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) approved a spectrum swap with Nextel to
alleviate the congestion of airwaves used by police and fire departments.

Under the agreement, Nextel will license 10 megahertz of contiguous spectrum
at 1.9 gigahertz currently used by public safety agencies and private
wireless licensees. Those users will be relocated to a portion of the 800
megahertz band that will be turned over from Nextel.

The move will be completed over 42 months. The first nine months will be
dedicated to frequency planning and data collection. The movement of the
largest public safety systems would occur in the final stages.

The FCC’s decision sparked an outcry from Verizon Wireless, which at the
time called it “bizarre,” given that Nextel’s cell phone traffic was
causing the interference problems.

It deemed the FCC’s move a “multi-billion dollar windfall on Nextel at
taxpayer expense.” It also called on other arms of the government to
intervene.

News Around the Web