Sprint, Nextel expect to finish merger Friday

New name will be Sprint Nextel Corp.

Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. said Tuesday they intend to finalize their merger on Aug. 12, after gaining all required regulatory approval.

The companies will become Sprint Nextel Corp. and will use the stock ticker symbol "S" when trading begins on the New York Stock Exchange next Monday, according to a joint news release.

The companies, two of the largest mobile phone service providers in the U.S., cleared approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice last week.

The merger, announced in December, is part of a wave of consolidation in the U.S. telecommunications industry. Late last year, Cingular Wireless LLC acquired AT&T Wireless Services Inc., while SBC Communications Inc. has proposed to merge with AT&T Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. plans to buy MCI Inc.

Sprint, in Overland Park, Kansas, had 24.8 million customers on its cellular network at the end of last year, and has local and long-distance wireline businesses as well. As part of the deal, its local telecommunications business is to be spun off.

Nextel, in Reston Virginia, had 17 million cellular customers in the first quarter of this year. In addition to being the third-largest mobile operator in the U.S., the combined company will hold a large majority of the licenses in a frequency band around 2.5GHz that could be used for a national wireless broadband service.