October 4, 1997 in Nation/World

Nextel Launches Local Services

From Staff And Wire Reports

Nextel Communications Inc. has launched its wireless telephone and pager service in the Spokane area.

The system was switched on Monday, said Washington General Manager Drake Pruitt. A formal unveiling is scheduled for the Computer & Business Technology Expo the company is co-sponsoring Tuesday at the Ag Trade Center.

Nextel’s network covers an area from Reardan in the west to Clark Fork in the east, and Nordman in the north to Plummer in the south.

Another network extends along the Interstate 5 corridor from the Canadian border south to Eugene.

The Nextel system is built around a unique handset that incorporates digital cellular technology as well as alphanumeric paging and two-way radio capability.

The radio feature, Pruitt said, allows a user to talk with as many as 100 co-workers at a time, cutting connection costs substantially.

The handsets work in all of the 300 Nextel network markets without imposition of a roaming fee, he added.

The Spokane sales office will be managed by Marian Pelsma. The permanent location will be 1620 Namer Drive, Suite 400, in the Valley, she said.

About 10 of a projected staff of 15 have been hired, Pelsma said. , DataTimes

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