RESTON, VA. — Sprint Nextel will spin off its local telephone division, to be known as Embarq, on May 17.

Embarq’s headquarters will be in suburban Kansas City. One of its largest operations covering the Carolinas will maintain its headquarters just north of Wake Forest, N.C.

As part of the spin-off, Sprint Nextel shareholders will be given one share of Embarq stock for every 20 shares of Sprint Nextel stock they hold. When the spin-off is complete, Sprint Nextel will hold no shares in the new firm.

Embarq will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EQ.

The spin-off is a result of the Sprint-Nextel wireless merger announced last year.

Embarq will offer local and long distance services, high-speed Internet access, consumer, business and wholesale services. It is expected to have revenues of $6.3 billion and will be the nation’s fifth largest local phone company with some 7.35 million access lines.

Embarq will have some 20,000 employees.

Sprint Nextel: