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Nextel Partners' Shares Climb in IPO

The telecom spinoff will focus on small and mid-sized markets.

Updated from 2:42 p.m. EST

Telecommunications giant

Nextel Communications


continued to build its digital mobile network Wednesday by cutting loose its affiliate,

Nextel Partners


, in an initial public offering.

Shares of Nextel Partners gained 10 1/8, or 50.6%, to close out its first day of trading at 30 1/8.

The gains were slightly less than those of a comparable company,

Alamosa PCS Holdings


, which

jumped 66% on its first day of trading earlier this month. Alamosa is a wireless operator that uses the

Sprint PCS Group


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Similarly, Nextel Partners, based in Kirkland, Wash., will use the Nextel brand and concentrate on the small and mid-sized markets throughout the U.S., allowing its parent company to focus on the larger cities. Nextel Communications owns 36.5% of Nextel Partners, according to the company's registration with the

Securities and Exchange Commission


Shares of Nextel Communications rose 2 3/4, or 2%, to close at 133 3/4.

Lead underwriter Goldman Sachs helped the company raise $470 million on the offering of 23.5 million shares. Nextel Partners had originally thought it would bring in about $376 million by offering shares in the $16 to $18 range.

According to IPO Monitor, a group that tracks new stocks, the average initial public offering this year raised $142.5 million and the average new issue jumped 92% on its first day. Nextel Partners' showing suggests that companies are becoming more aggressive in pricing their offerings, even as investors appear be a bit less voracious for new issues.

Together, the Nextels plan to connect the dots between all 100 major metropolitan areas and to offer access to digital two-way mobile data and Internet services by the end of 2000.

Nextel Partners now offers service to 46,000 digital phone subscribers in 12 of the 100 most populous cities throughout New York, Texas, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. The company hopes to expand into Kentucky and Iowa in the first half of 2000.

Besides Nextel, other major investors include




DLJ Merchant Banking Partners


Madison Dearborn Capital Partners


Eagle River Investments