Phone: 800-639-8359

Web: www.nextel.com

Type: Digital (iDEN)

SERVICE PLANS:

"Local Instant Connect"

$35.99: daytime use costs 40 cents/minute, unlimited night/weekend minutes.

$39.99: 500 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$49.99: 700 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$65.99: 1,250 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

Long-distance adds 20 cents/minute. No roaming charges. Caller ID and voice mail add $1 each. Unlimited regional Direct Connect minutes (national use adds 10 cents/minute).

"National Free Incoming"

$49.99: 300 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$59.99: 500 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

No long-distance or roaming charges, free airtime on incoming calls and unlimited regional Direct Connect minutes.

"National Power"

$45.99: 500 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.

$55.99: 800 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.

$69.99: 1,200 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

No long-distance or roaming charges. Caller ID and voice mail add $1 each. Unlimited regional Direct Connect minutes (national use adds 10 cents/minute).

"National Team Share"

$39.99: 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$49.99: 600 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$69.99: 900 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$89.99: 1,200 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

$15 to add one phone to any plan, or combine separate National Team Share plans on one bill. No long-distance or roaming charges. Caller ID and voice mail add $1 each. 250 regional Direct Connect minutes, then 15 cents/minute (national use adds 10 cents/minute).

Messaging/Web/etc.

Text messages cost 15 cents each, or $7.50 for unlimited use. Basic Web access costs $3.50 plus airtime (text messages cost 10 cents each), $10 for "Premium" Web access (airtime included, adds unlimited text messaging), or $15/month for open Web access (airtime and unlimited text messaging included). Download speeds up to 22 kbps.

Direct Connect use among more than two people costs 15 cents/minute per person except on National Team Share plans (where it's taken out of Direct Connect allowance). Group Direct Connect in home region only.

Fine print

One-year contract required, but can change plans without penalty. 15-day trial. "Night/weekend" means 9 p.m.-7 a.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9 p.m. Fri.-7 a.m. Mon. Prepaid "Boost Mobile" service available, stating at $20 for 90 days (25 cents/min. weekdays, 10 cents/minute nights and weekends)

Smartphones offered

BlackBerry 7510

Real-world cost estimates (See below for explanation)

1: Light use (30 minutes): $41.99

2: Moderate use (three hours): $41.99

3: Heavy use (eight hours): $47.99

4: Land-line replacement (20 hours): $57.99

5: Chatty couple (six hours, two phones): $58.99

REVIEWER'S NOTES:

Nextel continued its unlikely streak, delivering perfect coverage at each location for the second year in a row -- even with a change of test locations. Nextel's service, however, remains on the pricey side, and if you stray from its network, there's no roaming option.

-- J.B. II