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Wireless firm walks delisting tightrope

Novatel Wireless, a maker of modems for laptop computers, says it's been informed by the SEC that it's in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq.

Laptop modem maker Novatel Wireless said Monday that it is in danger of being delisted from the Nasdaq.

A spokesman for the wireless equipment maker said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission gave the company until July 29 to record 10 straight trading days in which its stock closes above $1, or the stock will be delisted. The stock was trading at 48 cents a share Monday.

The company also disclosed in an SEC filing Friday that AirLink Communications, which embeds Novatel Wireless modems in its products, was "delinquent" in making payments as part of a deal the two companies signed last May. A spokesman for AirLink did not return a phone call for comment.

Novatel makes PC Cards, credit card-size modems that slip into laptops. The company supplies AT&T Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless with the modems needed for laptops to access the carriers' new higher-speed wireless Internet services using a standard known as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service).

It also intends to soon introduce a new laptop card that will work on CDMA (code division multiple access), the telephone standard used by Sprint PCS and other carriers.

A company spokesman remained upbeat Monday, pointing out how demand for GPRS and CDMA laptop cards is just beginning, as carriers like AT&T Wireless and VoiceStream start offering service on wireless Internet networks they've been building for the last several years.

"Although our stock (has) not reflected it, our latest deals have put us in distribution worldwide," a Novatel spokesman Al Hernandez said. "Because we're lumped into the telecom space, nobody's really listening to that."