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Definition: Nextel


(Nextel Communications, Inc., Reston, VA, www.nextel.com) A wireless communications carrier founded in New Jersey in 1987 as Fleet Call, a two-way radio service. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the company acquired a large number of SMR (Specialized Mobile Radio) operators and turned them into a nationwide system. In 1996, it introduced Motorola's iDEN technology, which incorporated dispatch radio, cellphone, data and text messaging into one phone. Branded as Nextel's Direct Connect, the iDEN two-way radio service provided an always-on connection between mobile workers similar to a walkie talkie. Nextel was one of the first cellular carriers to institute a no-roaming-charge service nationwide. In 2004, Nextel merged with Sprint, which became Sprint Nextel. However, in 2013, the Nextel IDEN network was terminated.