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Sprint CEO: We Don't See iDEN Network Going Away

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NEW YORK (Dow Jones) The Nextel network isn't going away, says Sprint Nextel Chief Executive Dan Hesse.

The network is one of few that run on a technology called iDEN, which is solely supported by Motorola. There have been reports that Sprint is considering the sale of the assets; Wall Street has called for the company to move subscribers away from the network and mothball the technology.

But Hesse, speaking to investors on Tuesday during the company's annual shareholder meeting, said he wants iDEN to be the primary choice for Nextel customers.

The company has invested heavily into making phones that can ride on both the iDEN network and the Sprint network, as well mimic iDEN phones' iconic walkie-talkie capabilities.

Motorola will continue to support the technology, Hesse said. There have been concerns the company may eventually cease supplying equipment, particularly as it works through its own problems and a pending split. Hesse said a certain volume has to be maintained for Motorola to make money on the business.

There is a certain risk that comes with a single-source vendor, Hesse said, adding that it is unlikely that other suppliers will enter the iDEN business.

On job cuts, Hesse said there would be further reductions, but noted that Sprint would avoid cutting jobs in customer care until the levels improve. Jobs in other area that affect the customer experience would be safe as well, he said.

Overall, he said the year would continue to be difficult as the company turns itself around.

Sprint shares recently traded down 20 cents, or 2.2%, at $9.04.

-By Roger Cheng, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-2020; roger.cheng@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Tags: customer care  iden  motorola  sprint  nextel