DeWayne Nelon, CEO of LogicaCMG Wireless Networks in North America, said the move to a CDMA network will make the transition worthwhile for the enterprise. LogicaCMG is an international IT systems integrator with a large presence in the telecom market, particularly in the area of immediate and store-and-forward text messaging. The chief benefit for the enterprise, Nelon said, will be the additional bandwidth with the data rates up to 400 kbps that CDMA provides. The Motorola IDEN network supports data rates of about 100 kbps. "If youre an enterprise customer, you just cant get the bandwidth from that," Nelon said. "Nextel would have to do something, even without this merger, to upgrade their network.""Every one of Nextels handsets will have to be replaced," Nelon said, noting that the company would have to do that anyway in upgrading its network to higher data rates. "Its not an inexpensive proposition," he said, "but the merger gives them an easier path to get to where they needed to be." One challenge in the upgrade will be to preserve Nextels popular push-to-talk features. "The push-to-talk feature has been a sticky item for Nextel. Its a feature people dont want to give up," Nelon said, adding that the companies will have to make sure that the feature can continue to be supported through the transition "in a way that is palatable." Prior to the announcement of the Sprint-Nextel merger, the two companies were talking and rumors were flying that Verizon might buy Sprint. But few analysts expect that a Verizon-Sprint merger could happen anytime soon. "Verizon has very little to gain by merging with Sprint," King said. "I doubt that its very likely their overtures will continue, just because its too large a pill to swallow and there are too many implications around monopolistic intentions. It would be difficult now to make an argument for a merger in front of the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] or the FTC [Federal Trade Commission]." Wilson, too, said he views a Verizon-Sprint merger as "highly problematical." "One merger is difficult enough," he said. "How could you execute two serially? And I have to believe the regulators would go absolutely apoplectic on a Verizon-Sprint-Nextel merger." Such a merger would bring competition down to three major companiesVerizon, Cingular-AT&T Wireless, and Sprint Nextel. "I dont think anyone wants to see a wireless version of the old Bell system being replicated in the U.S.," Wilson said, "and thats essentially what you would have." Despite recent merger mania, the FCC continues to examine proposals to break telecom giants into pieces to promote competition. Under the mandate of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the agency is required to develop a plan to have major carriers unbundle elements of their networks and lease parts to competitors. The FCC has put together three plans, all of which have been nixed by the courts. Coincidental with the Sprint-Nextel merger, the issue was back on the agencys agenda at its meeting Wednesday. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
LogicaCMG has developed and deployed a variety of wireless telecom solutions, including direct delivery and store-and-forward text messaging.