By Frank Morris
KANSAS CITY, MO – Sprint Nextel Corp. is laying off about 4,000 people, and closing 8 percent of its stores, as the company continues to slump against rival mobile phone service providers.
Sprint Nextel has slipped almost relentlessly against the two larger cell phone service companies. In recent months hundreds of thousands of subscribers have bolted, mainly to AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sprint's net income plunged 77 percent in the third quarter of last year.
In addition to the job cuts, Sprint is closing 125 of its 1,400 company-owned stores, and thousands of third party distribution points.
The company says the job reductions announced today will cut across the company hierarchy. They should be completed by the middle of this year, and save more than $700 million a year there after. Some of the company's nearly 60,000 employees will be offered incentives to leave, including separation pay and outplacement services.