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 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.