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Summary:

Wasn’t SoftBank’s takeover of Sprint supposed to revitalize the carrier? It seems to be having the opposite effect. As it loses ground to the competition, Sprint has set off a wave of layoffs and store closures.

After SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son took ovr Sprint chairman he immediately started looking for toward the next acquisition opportunity (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
photo: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

It looks like Sprint in the process of scaling back its operations in a major way. What started out as a few reports from different parts of the country on job cuts and facility closures are compounding into what appears to be major round of lay-offs and restructuring.

On Tuesday, Kansas City media reported the closure of a call center at its Overland Park HQ, putting 200 customer service employees out of job, as well as additional center closures in Sacramento, Calif., and Elmsford, N.J. The next day, the Fort Worth Star Telegram revealed Sprint was halving the staff at its 900-employee Fort Worth customer service facility and cutting 440 positions at call centers in Orlando, Fla., and Temple, Texas.

The bloodletting didn’t end there, though. CNET on Thursday discovered that Sprint was laying off 330 technical consultants who repair and refurbish phones, 150 service centers where those consultants worked, and 55 of its worst-performing retail locations.

Sprint

Source: Shutterstock / Susan Law Cain

Sprint hasn’t revealed the total number of layoffs, and the different reports all offer conflicting numbers. At the very least 1,400 employees are getting pink slips, but it’s likely many more. And that doesn’t include the 800 job cuts Sprint made last summer. Sprint has about 40,000 employees in total.

We may be seeing the handiwork of Sprint’s new chairman Masayoshi Son (pictured above), whose company SoftBank took control of Sprint last summer with a $21.6 billion investment. The move was supposed to fix Sprint’s problems, giving it the funds and direction to finish its LTE rollout and compete head-to-head with Verizon and AT&T. But Sprint is still reeling, feeling the competitive effects not only of T-Mobile’s aggressive Un-carrier campaign but also an operational hangover from its recent sunsetting of Nextel’s iDEN network and brand.

Son apparently isn’t happy with Sprint’s performance, and friction between the chairman and staff have coincided with some high-profile departures, such as President of Network Operations Steve Elfman and SVP of Networks Bob Azzi, who formerly oversaw Sprint’s LTE rollout. Son, however, seems more concerned with getting the government’s blessing for his next planned acquisition — T-Mobile — than he is with fixing the U.S. carrier he already controls.

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  1. Wow I’m really shocked by this, you mean having high prices and lousy service doesn’t make money?

    1. It works for Verizon and ATT.
      Sprint is still the best cell and data value available. Read all the other carrier’s offers, including the fine print on new phone costs and possible overage charges. Do the math. Sprint is the best value for your dollar in unlimited data and cell service.
      Spark kills the competition here in NYC. I just got 43 Mbps down and 14 up. T, TMUS and VZ can’t come near to matching that. Even TWC wired broadband has a problem matching that in many areas. Sprint’s network is definitely getting better.
      I am a demanding customer and have always been pleased with Sprint’s customer service. I can’t say the same about T and VZ. Over the years I have been a customer of both. CS issues are why I left them and ultimately went to Sprint.

  2. I still don’t get why Softbank didn’t try buying T-Mobile in the first place. Did they do ANY research into the US market?

    1. I totally couldn’t agree more. Mr son will eventually realized that investing in sprint was a huge mistake

  3. I think mr son made a wrong bet with sprint . His money could have been well spent if he had invested it in T mobile can you imagine how much better in terms of coverage if T mobile had an additional $20B of capital infusion . I think sprint is going to die a slow gradual death . Sorry mr. Son you made a wrong bet !

  4. Less Call Center people are needed if taking less calls. That is progress.

  5. Eddie Chavis Monday, March 24, 2014

    His first priority should be pleasing his customers! Don’t know how things work in Japan but we have a saying here in America…….”Don’t bite the hands that feeds you!!”

  6. He’s closing all American call centers so he can open call centers in Japan. He hates America, he’s probably friends with obama!?

  7. @eddie if you called having customer changed their own number ,pay there bill, swap their own phone out, and etc progress then you dont know anything. It was this this or having the customer pay everytime they call into sprint now how would customer like that?

  8. Sprint can never seem to get out of trouble. The DOJ just sued Sprint for fraudulent billing related to wiretap issues.

  9. That doesnt include the 650 call center reps in Charlotte NC who are being laid off from Sprint and hired by Xerox as a vender site

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