Sprint said to use Nextel to court business customers

While the carrier has no plans to bring back the push-to-talk network, the Nextel brand reportedly will be attached to "premium" services aimed at business customers.

Sprint might find a way to bring back Nextel, but not its network.

Sprint is considering bringing back the Nextel brand to attract business customers, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of carrier's plans. While Sprint would like to use the Nextel brand to attract business customers, it has no desire to bring back the push-to-talk iDEN network Nextel's technology was based on, said the report.

In addition to attracting business customers through the Nextel brand, Sprint is also planning to merge its prepaid companies -- Boost and Virgin Mobile -- into a singular service called Sprint Freedom, according to TechCrunch's source. That offering could launch as early as the first quarter of 2014, said the report.

But it's Nextel that appears to be the core focus of Sprint going into 2014. According to TechCrunch's source, the company wants to make Nextel's offerings "premium" in nature, offering both 4G fixed and mobile broadband to customers.

Nextel proved to be a conundrum for Sprint after it acquired the firm for $35 billion back in 2005. The company justified the purchase by saying that it could help it attract more business customers, but the costs of the iDEN network mounted and corporate customers fell out of love with the technology. Sprint was left with a massive bill and little value in Nextel.

Earlier this year, Sprint finally decommissioned the iDEN network.

CNET has contacted Sprint for comment on the report. We will update this story when we have more information.

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