updated 2/19/2004 12:43:16 PM ET 2004-02-19T17:43:16

Wireless carrier Nextel Communications Inc. Thursday reported a lower quarterly profit, reflecting proceeds from the year-ago sale of its international unit NII Holdings, while revenue rose 29 percent.

It expects its 2004 profits to beat Wall Street expectations.

Reston, Virginia-based Nextel reported a fourth quarter net profit of $637 million, or 56 cents per share, compared to a year-earlier profit on the same basis of $1.46 billion, or $1.38 per share.

Excluding several special items, the company posted a profit of 48 cents a share. The average Wall Street estimate was 40 cents a share, with a range of 29 cents to 57 cents, as compiled by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Plc.

Revenue rose to $3.01 billion from $2.33 billion a year earlier. The company added 553,000 new subscribers during the quarterending with 12.9 million subscribers.

The company expects earnings to be at least $2.00 a share in 2004, compared with the Reuters Research estimate of $1.85 with a range of $1.45 to $2.24. It expects to add 1.8 million subscribers, excluding its Boost Mobile service aimed at younger cellphone users.

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