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Sprint, the US mobile network operator, has launched a $1.3bn tender offer for US Unwired, a Sprint affiliate that resells Sprint services and has more than 500,000 subscribers.

The move comes as Sprint pushes ahead with its pending $35bn acquisition of Nextel Communications and will extend Sprint's direct service territory to an additional 6m people.

“This acquisition would bring an end to a long partnership with the management and shareholders of US Unwired,” said Gary Forsee, Sprint's chief executive.

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