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Nextel Wins 11 Of 13 Brazil 3G Mobile Operating Licenses

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- NII Holding Inc.'s (NIHD) Brazilian unit, Nextel Servicos de Telecomunicacoes, won 11 of the 13 mobile phone operating licenses in a Brazil auction Tuesday. The company won rights to operate third-generation, or 3G, systems in all regions of the country, being outbid only in operating areas serving parts of Minas Gerais, in Brazil's southeast, and Goias and Mato Grosso do Sul, in Brazil's center-west, Brazilian regulator Anatel said on its website. Nextel agreed to pay the minimum price for three of the licenses, and bid as much as three times the minimum for the right to operate in parts of Sao Paulo state, the country's wealthiest. Altogether, Nextel paid 1.2 billion Brazilian reais ($707 million) for the licenses, according to Anatel. CTBC Celular SA won one license, while 14 Brasil Telecom Celular SA, a unit of Brazilian phone operator Oi, won the other remaining license. Nextel's successful bidding will allow the company to boost its growth in the Latin American country, the local Estado news agency reported, citing Nextel's Brazil president, Sergio Chaia. "This is a historic moment for Nextel," Estado cited Chaia as saying in a press conference. "With 3G, Nextel doubles its potential for growth in Brazil." The company will begin operating its 3G services as soon as it finishes building the network, Chaia told Estado, without specifying a timeline. -By Paulo Winterstein, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-11-3544-7073; paulo.winterstein@dowjones.com

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