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Sprint answers iPhone with touch-screen handset

Like Apple's iPhone, the Touch, to be offered by Sprint Nextel, has a Web browser and can play music. Like Apple's iPhone, the Touch, to be offered by Sprint Nextel, has a Web browser and can play music. (ASSOCIATED PRESS/SPRINT NEXTEL CORP)

DALLAS - Sprint Nextel Corp., seeking to compete with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, has introduced a touch-screen handset that can download music and play video.

The Touch phone, made by High Tech Computer Corp. of Taiwan, also has a Web browser and can send e-mail. It will go on sale Nov. 4, Sprint said yesterday in a statement.

Sprint, the third-biggest US mobile-phone service, is offering music devices such as the Touch and Samsung Electronics Co.'s UpStage to win back customers from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. Dropped calls and other glitches caused Sprint to lose about 850,000 long-term contract subscribers in the past year.

Sprint shares rose 1 cent to $17.72 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 6.2 percent this year.

The Touch phone will feature Sprint's live television service and original video programs, the company said. Customers can also download music and listen to streaming radio stations. The phone, which uses Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile software, will cost $249.99 with a two-year service agreement and a $100 mail-in rebate.

The iPhone, a combination mobile handset and iPod music player, costs $399 with a two-year contract. AT&T is the exclusive provider of service for the iPhone in the United States.

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