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Court Gives Sprint Just One Year to Leave Nextel Network in iPCS Territory

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A US court has given Sprint Nextel about a year to abandon its Nextel network in the territory of one of its wireless affiliates, iPCS Wireless following a lengthy and acrimonious court battle. The order requires Sprint to cease owning, operating and managing the Nextel wireless network in iPCS Wireless' service area on or before January 25, 2010. The order provides that Sprint may request an extension of that period upon a showing of good cause.

iPCS also announced that the Circuit Court dismissed with prejudice Sprint's petition to vacate the Court's original judgment from 2006.

"We are delighted that a date has finally been set for Sprint to comply with the Circuit Court's order in the Nextel case by ceasing to own, operate and manage the Nextel network in our affiliate's service area. We have always believed that Sprint would be required to honor its contractual obligations under our affiliation agreements. We are pleased with the outcome and look forward to Sprint's compliance," commented Timothy M. Yager, President and Chief Executive Officer of iPCS.

iPCS, through its operating subsidiaries, is a Sprint PCS Affiliate of Sprint Nextel with the exclusive right to sell wireless mobility communications network products and services under the Sprint brand in 81 markets including markets in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee. 

iPCS Amends Complaint in Sprint/Clearwire Litigation and Provides Litigation Update

iPCS also announced that, on January 30, 2009, the iPCS subsidiaries amended their original complaint against Sprint Nextel related to the Sprint/Clearwire transaction. Under the amended complaint, the iPCS subsidiaries included, among other things, a claim that Sprint is improperly diverting advanced technologies to the Affiliates' competitor in violation of the affiliation agreements.

The amended complaint also seeks monetary relief, including damages.

The Circuit Court also recently denied Sprint's motion for summary judgment against Horizon Personal Communications and Bright Personal Communications Services, each a wholly owned subsidiary of iPCS, and granted in part iPCS Wireless' motion for partial summary judgment.

In connection with the granting in part of iPCS Wireless' motion for partial summary judgment, the Circuit Court confirmed that Sprint and those acting in concert with Sprint may not compete against iPCS Wireless in its exclusive service territories, regardless of the radio frequency that they use to compete.

The trial to decide the remaining issues is currently scheduled to begin on March 30, 2009. However, there are a number of discovery motions currently before the Circuit Court and, depending on the rulings related to those motions, it is possible that the trial date may be postponed.

"We are pleased with the preliminary outcomes so far in the Sprint/Clearwire litigation. As the Illinois Courts have consistently recognized, the iPCS affiliates invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build out the Sprint network based on Sprint's original promises of exclusivity,' commented Mr. Yager. "We are confident that, when all of the evidence is presented and considered, the Illinois Courts will again require Sprint to live up to the agreements it made with the affiliates more than ten years ago," concluded Mr. Yager.

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