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Nextel was founded in 1987 and initially offered data communications over analog radio facilities. Nextel's newer wireless telephone service is carried over digital facilities in its 800 to 900MHz spectrum. The service is used with Motorola telephones and is geared to small to medium-sized businesses. In early 1999, Nextel announced that it will upgrade its network to support browser-equipped Motorola telephones. It does not target residential customers.

Nextel offers the same features as PCS service, such as short-messaging text paging and voicemail. Because of its proprietary nature, users cannot use their telephones in locations without Nextel service. Nextel service operates on lower frequencies, which requires fewer towers because lower-frequency, longer wavelength signals travel farther without deteriorating than signals at higher frequencies.

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