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NIHD Enhances Walkie-Talkie Service

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Latin American wireless service provider NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD) has joined up with Motorola Mobility to launch Atrix HD smartphone in Mexico. Atrix HD is preloaded with NIHD’s Push-to-Talk (:PTT) solution, PRIP. Motorola Mobility is a subsidiary of Google Inc. (GOOG).

NIHD, which operates under the Nextel brand, offers its PTT service using its 3G wireless network in Mexico. PRIP service uses a software-based solution and is accessed by an icon on the handset. The PRIP service allows Nextel Mexico customer to connect with other PTT users anytime and from any place.

Nextel Mexico is the first market to launch the PRIP service and is second in NIHD’s footprint to offer the PTT service in Latin America. Last year, Nextel started offering PTT services on its WCDMA network in Peru. The new 3G PTT service provided by Nextel Peru is offered through Huawei-based U3220 handsets.

However,  with Atrix HD,  Nextel Mexico customers will be able to enjoy the PTT service with a high end smartphone. Additionally, the software of PRIP can be used in other devices running on GooglesAndroid platform.

The announcement was accepted positively by the shareholders as the stock leaped almost 14% to close at $7.39 during Wednesday’s trade in Nasdaq.

Traditionally, NIHD has used the iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) technology to offer Push-to-Talk services. The iDEN technology is not as widely used as other wireless networks and has fewer subscribers worldwide compared to other digital technology formats.

We believe that the software-based solution will allow NIHD to extend its PTT service reach, by offering the solution in other advanced and popular devices, which in turn will allow the company to compete better with bigger players like Telefonica SA (TEF) and America Movil S.A.B. de C.V. (AMX).

NII Holdings currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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