is about to get more good news.
A day after the company unveiled its $35 billion merger of equals with Kansas telco
, published reports indicate the company is due a windfall for its participation in a government-brokered wireless spectrum swap.
The Federal Communications Commission is circulating a new draft of an order that would grant Nextel the $452 million credit it was seeking in the swap arrangement, according to telecom policy publication
and Lehman Brothers analyst Blake Bath.
The development suggests the Reston, Va., wireless shop has won its appeal of the FCC's ruling on the matter. An FCC representative didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.
In July, the agency proposed a $3.25 billion radio spectrum swap in which Nextel would vacate certain airwaves in order to reduce interference on emergency services radios. In exchange, Nextel gained an enviable new slice of 1.9-gigahertz spectrum. But the company said it wasn't given full credit for the size of the U.S. population covered by the old 800-megahertz spectrum it was giving up.
Apparently, the original calculations were made using old spectrum-license information. Newer information showed Nextel's network covered more of the population. The bigger credit will lower Nextel's total spectrum and relocation costs to about $2.8 billion.
Nextel faces almost no opposition to the order, which rivals had once called a massive windfall for the walkie-talkie shop. Both
and Cingular withdrew objections to the FCC's spectrum-swap decision.
If the appeal is approved, it represents "one of the final hurdles that must be cleared for the FCC and Nextel to reach agreement on the swap," Bath said in a note Thursday.
The FCC has until next Wednesday to file the final order.
Nextel shares rose 91 cents, or 3%, $29.61 Thursday.