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NIHD, Motorola Bring PRIP to US

Zacks Equity Research

Latin American Wireless service provider NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD) and Google Inc.’s (GOOG) subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, have launched PRIP service in the U.S. PRIP is an advanced push-to-talk service (:PTT).

PRIP is based on Motorola’s PTT technology and allows customers to connect with other PTT users anytime and anywhere through a wireless or Wi-Fi connection. The service uses a software-based solution and is accessed by an icon on the handset.

The U.S. users will be able to instantly connect to 11 million NIHD subscribers across the U.S., Mexico and four other Latin American countries, using PRIP. The first few customers will receive a month’s free service and will be charged $7.99 per month thereafter.

PRIP can be downloaded from Google’s application distribution platform, Google Play and is compatible with smartphones running on Google’s Ginger bread or later versions. PRIP is expected to be available for Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone in the coming weeks. Apart from unlimited calling, PRIP customers will be able to send call alerts, import contacts automatically and hold group conversations.

In Apr 2013, NIHD launched the PRIP service in Mexico, offering the PTT service using its 3G wireless network. The company operates under the brand Nextel and has launched Motorola’s Atrix HD smartphone in the country, which is preloaded with PRIP.

NIHD has traditionally used Motorola Solutions Inc.’s (MSI) iDEN (Integrated Digital Enhanced Network) technology to offer wireless service. The iDEN technology is not as widely used as other wireless networks and has fewer subscribers worldwide. Thus, NIHD is phasing out its iDEN network and consequently integrating its new PTT technology.

We believe that the software-based solution will not only allow NIHD to widen its PTT service reach but will also compensate its 3G market share loss to rivals, with bigger presence in Latin America.

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

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