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Nextel Partners reaffirms full year guidance

Nextel Partners gained almost 15 percent after reiterating its 2001 financial guidance. The company's partner, Nextel Communications, yesterday warned that it would miss its first-quarter numbers.

Shares of Nextel Partners (Nasdaq: NXTP), which is one-third owned by Nextel Communications (Nasdaq: NXTL), moved up $1.94 to $15 in early trading on Thursday. Nextel Partners is the only U.S. affiliate of Nextel Communications and holds exclusive rights to provide Nextel's digital wireless communications services in small and mid-sized U.S. markets.

After yesterday's market close, Kirkland, Wash.-based Nextel Partners said that there was no reason to change its numbers for fiscal year 2001, based on its results so far.

According to CEO John Chapple, the company remains on track to meet the current first-quarter expectations of 60,000 net subscriber additions, $70 monthly revenue per subscriber unit, and a customer turnover, or churn, of less than 2 percent. Nextel Partners was experiencing better-than-anticipated market acceptance of its services, Chapple added.

The company's reaffirmation came hours after partner Nextel Communications said its first-quarter results would be hurt by the slowing U.S. economy, downsizing and higher costs. Shares of that company rebounded 63 cents, over 4 percent, to $15.25 on Thursday after being pummeled in yesterday's session, despite having its price target cut at Salomon Smith Barney. The stock was maintained at "outperform".

Nextel Communications CEO Tim Donahue declined to provide a new full-year cash-flow target but said the company would be "very close" to meeting the cash flow set out for the year. Donahue added that the company would tighten up on expenses and said that capital spending would be below the level of the fourth quarter.

Also on Thursday, Nextel International, the international arm of Nextel Communications, said it would postpone its initial public offering due to the market conditions. The company plans to trade on Nasdaq as NXTI. In a filing with federal regulators last month, the company said it planned an offering of 60 million shares at $10 to $12 each.

Reuters contributed to this report.