Nextel to sell Samsung’s answer to Motorola

By : |November 16, 2005 0

NEW YORK: Sprint Nextel Corp plans to start selling a slim phone from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in a few weeks in a bid to attract fashion conscious customers, Sprint Nextel’s chief operating officer Len Lauer said.

The phone, which is seen as Samsung’s answer to Motorola Inc.’s skinny and highly popular Razr phone, may help Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 U.S. mobile phone firm, compete with bigger rivals Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless.

As the number of people who do not already own a phone is shrinking, operators are offering more sophisticated phones and advanced services such as wireless video and music to help them keep their own customers and lure rival customers away.

The No. 1 U.S. mobile service Cingular, a venture of SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp, has seen its growth boosted by the Razr, which has became a design icon, since it started selling the phone about a year ago.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, is also widely expected to start selling a version of the Razr by year-end.

Speaking at the sidelines of the UBS Global Communications Conference here in New York Lauer implied that Sprint Nextel would not plan to sell the Razr along with the Samsung phone.

“We think this is a better device,” said Lauer adding that he preferred the ergonomics of the Samsung phone.

He would not disclose the price tag for the Samsung A900 phone. For a time period that Lauer also would not disclose, Sprint Nextel has exclusive U.S. rights to sell the phone, a version of which is already on the market in Korea.

Lauer said it was too soon to tell how well consumers are receiving a wireless song download service that Sprint Nextel launched about two weeks ago.

“I think it’s six to eight months before we know,” said Lauer, who noted that the service only works on advanced mobile phones that the company just recently put in its stores.

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