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Sprint says it will shut down the Nextel network as early as June 30 of next year, cutting off service for its characteristic walkie-talkie-like Nextel phones.

Sprint Nextel had already said the shutdown would commence sometime next year but had not set a date. It's working to move Nextel subscribers to the Sprint network.

Sprint bought the Nextel network in 2005 and has lost money every quarter for the last four years as it has struggled with the cost of running two incompatible wireless networks.

There were 5.4 million phones active on the Nextel network at the end of March. Many Nextel customers are businesses or government agencies that issue the phones to construction crews and other mobile workers.

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