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Schafer company selling cell business

BISMARCK - Extend America, a company started by former Gov. Ed Schafer and other partners, is selling its cell phone business to Nextel Communications Inc.

"In the world of corporate America, timing is everything, and our venture capitalists thought it was time to sell the assets," said Schafer, the chief executive officer of Extend America.

The sale price and other details were not disclosed. Nextel already owns and leases 25 cell phone towers that Extend America uses.

Nextel, which recently merged with Sprint, wants to create one large network, Schafer said.

Extend America will remain in business but will concentrate on wireless broadband technology, which allows customers in rural areas to access high-speed Internet connections without connecting to telephone lines or cables.