Nextel Begins Talks with Agencies

BOSTON — Nextel Communications has hired a consultant to query agencies about pitching its advertising account, sources said.

The wireless company’s $150-200 million ad business has been held for nearly seven years by Interpublic Group’s Mullen, whose recent ads for the client have featured gruff NYPD Blue actor Dennis Franz.

Consulting company Roth Associates, New York, has been tapped to oversee the search, sources said.

A Nextel representative declined comment on Friday; executives at Mullen and Roth did not immediately return calls.

The agency works on Nextel brand advertising from its headquarters in Wenham, Mass.; the shop in January added retail duties on the account in its Winston-Salem, N.C., office.