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Dial S for Sprint-Nextel

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Sprint and Nextel formally completed their mega merger today, a week after the FCC gave its approval to the $35 billion deal.

Precise details of the closing financial terms have been promised before the market opens on Monday, when the merged entity will begin trading under 'S' symbol. (Vacating FON and NXTL).

The merged company embarks on its journey with 44 million mobile subscribers to lose (26.6 million belong to Sprint) and combined annual revenues of $40.8 billion. Mobile leader Cingular has 49.1 million subscribers and Verizon 47.4 million, but Sprint can boast considerably higher monthly ARPUs (average revenue per subscriber) than the juggernauts in front of it: Sprint PCS' ARPU topped $60 in the most recent quarter, while Verizon and Cingular's figures are around $50.

Sprint has two pressing obligations before it can embark on unifying its network, divided between the incompatible CDMA and iDEN technologies. It has promised to flog Sprint's local business in 2006, and the FCC wants a clear program for the large and lucrative chunk of 2.6Ghz broadband spectrum it now owns. ®

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