Nextel Communications' unique walkie-talkie-like cell-phone service has fueled growth and profits. To maintain its edge, Nextel must:
FEND OFF COPYCATS
AT&T Wireless Services, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint PCS plan "push-to-talk" services this year. To stay ahead, Nextel is rolling out a new satellite-location service to keep track of truck fleets. And its regional walkie-talkie services will soon go nationwide.
EXPAND ITS TERRAIN
To maintain its 21% annual subscriber growth, Nextel must sign up more professionals and businesses. A marketing venture with a telecom marketer called Pipeline Holdings LLC could help tap the youth market.
REBUILD ITS NETWORK
As demand for faster wireless data grows, Nextel will have to shift from its current proprietary network to a more robust platform. The move could cost $2 billion.