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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

For government, no cellphone fees

June 12, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A leading cellphone company declined to charge the government the same expensive fees it charges consumers for canceling their contracts early, acknowledging that "the government will never, never accept such penalty amounts," according to corporate e-mails obtained by the Associated Press.

Nextel Communications Inc. -- now part of Sprint Nextel Corp. -- debated in January 2004 whether to assess a $200 termination fee to federal government subscribers under a contract with the General Services Administration. The company decided not to try because, according to a Sprint Nextel spokesman, it would have violated federal procurement laws.

The fees are the subject of a hearing today at the Federal Communications Commission.

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