A $17.5 million class action settlement against Sprint Nextel over the flat rate fees charged to people who bail out of their cell phone contracts early has won the blessing of a federal judge.

The agreement in Larson v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 07-cv- 5325, approved by U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark, N.J., on Jan. 15, provides for $14 million in cash and $3.5 million in activation fee waivers, bonus minutes and credit forgiveness. Any money left over will be used to buy phone cards for U.S. soldiers and their families.

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