In a move to streamline operation in the wake of significant subscriber losses, Sprint Nextel has announced it will lay off approximately 4,000 workers and close 125 of its company-owned retail locations. The move follows the layoffs of about 5,000 employees last year.
Sprint says it had a net loss of 683,000 subscribers and 202,000 pre-paid users during the fourth quarter of 2007.
In addition to closing 125 retail locations—about an eighth of its total retail operations—Sprint says it plans to shut down more than 4,000 of a total 20,000 “third party distribution points,” or sales outlets with other retailers that offer Sprint products and services.
Industry watchers question the wisdom of scaling back retail outlets at a time when the company needs to focus on bringing new subscribers to its services. However, the job cuts are expected to save the company up to $800 million by the end of 2008. The announcement comes at a time the company is re-evaluating its plans to deploy nationwide broadband services via WiMax; there are also reports Sprint is planning to consolidate its headquarters in Kansas.