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said it remains "firmly on track" to meet its 2003 guidance, saying that strong business trends are continuing in the third quarter.

The wireless services provider said subscriber and revenue growth have been solid, as have its operating income margins before depreciation and amortization.

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In July, Nextel said it expected to earn at least $1 a share for 2003, with 1.9 million net new subscribers. At the time, analysts expected the company to earn 94 cents for the year, but after Nextel provided the outlook, the consensus Wall Street forecast rose to $1.08.

Shares of Nextel were gaining 35 cents, or 1.8%, to $19.55 in premarket Instinet trading.