Sprint loses bid for appeal in iPCS case

Chris Rizo Sep. 24, 2008, 2:56pm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to hear an appeal by Sprint Nextel Corp. over its lawsuit with affiliate iPCS Inc.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based iPCS sued Sprint Corp. in July 2005 to block competition after Sprint's $36 billion merger with Nextel Communications Inc.

iPCS, which sells Sprint services, sued Sprint, saying that it was violating iPCS' exclusivity agreement by selling Nextel products in the territory of its iPCS Wireless subsidiary.

In March, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a Cook County Circuit Court ruling that Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint Nextel must divest of its Nextel network in iPCS' wireless territory.

With Wednesday's decision, Sprint has 180 days to cease owning and operating its Nextel network.

iPCS CEO Timothy Yager said in a statement that iPCS is pleased with the high court's ruling.

"We have believed from the beginning that Sprint's merger with Nextel and its operation of the Nextel wireless network in our territory is in violation of our subsidiaries' management agreements with Sprint," Yager said.

iPCS is raising legal objections to Sprint's pending transaction with Clearwire.

"We intend to take all necessary steps to defend our exclusivity rights under the management agreements," Yager added. "We believe that after all of the evidence is considered in the Clearwire litigation, Sprint will once again be required to comply with the terms of the deal that Sprint agreed to when it entered into the management agreements."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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