Sprint Nextel to shed 8,000 jobs

Sprint Nextel will cut 8,000 jobs as the company seeks to preserve cash among growing customer losses.

Additional moves reportedly being considered include shifting thousands more Sprint workers to other companies in outsourcing contracts, but the company didn’t make any announcements on that point Monday.

Sprint is expected to employ about 46,000 by April 1. It now has about 12,000 Kansas City-area workers, a number expected to drop by about 1,800 in the coming months.

In the meantime, investors and others are telling Sprint what they think of the company’s plans.

Sprint shares were trading up nearly 2 percent after the announcement. Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider said the announcement wasn’t necessarily a surprise, considering that Sprint has sputtered since taking on Nextel in 2005 and rivals such as AT&T and Verizon have grown tremendously.

The Sprint board signed off on the move to cut labor costs by $1.2 billion a year late last week. Robert Brust, who became Sprint’s chief financial officer in May 2008, has been signaling for weeks that a major shake-up was coming early in the new year.

The actions include the elimination of approximately 8,000 positions within the company, which is expected to be largely completed by March 31. The positions to be eliminated will impact all levels of the company, and the impact on geographic locations will vary.

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