• United States

Nextel top bidder for MCI’s fixed wireless assets

Jul 07, 20032 mins
Internet Service ProvidersNetworking

* Nextel to buy MCI's fixed wireless assets for $144 million

It was revealed last week that Nextel will buy MCI’s fixed wireless assets for $144 million.

In a motion filed on June 30 with the U.S. Bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York, MCI said the wireless service provider was the top bidder in an auction to sell off its wireless assets.

MCI, formerly WorldCom, made it clear earlier this year that its fixed wireless network and spectrum were on the auction block. The carrier has been selling many assets, in particular real estate, to satisfy its creditors that are owed billions. But the carrier hasn’t been aggressively selling off network assets.

The carrier did ditch its wireless resale business soon after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection nearly one year ago. But as far as its domestic network assets are concerned, they are primarily intact. 

But it seems the sale of its fixed wireless business made the most sense since it never quite reached its full potential or was fully integrated into MCI’s core business.

In 1999, the carrier acquired CAI Wireless for $400 million and MCI said it would roll out a Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Services (MMDS) fixed wireless network to 30 markets. But the network was never deployed much further than a dozen cities. The MMDS service supports wireless Internet connectivity in the 2 GHz and 3 GHz bands at speeds up to 2M bit/sec.

In May BellSouth bid $65 million for MCI’s fixed wireless business. But the court set-up an auction with the goal of seeing if other parties would pay more for the assets and MCI was able to more than double BellSouth’s offer.

More details regarding Nextel’s acquisition are expected to be filed this week with the bankruptcy court.