Sprint said to be planning layoffs

Company undergoing significant changes since arrival of new CEO

Sprint Nextel plans to lay off a few thousand of its 60,000 workers, a report in the Wall Street Journal says, quoting unnamed sources.

Sprint spokesman John Polivka, in an e-mail, said "we don't comment on speculation."

About 5,000 workers were laid off from the company last year, and the company is undergoing massive changes since it hired new CEO Dan Hesse in December. His arrival came after reports of poor financial performance and difficulty in signing up new wireless customers, which now total about 54 million, making it the third-largest carrier behind AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Another difficulty the company has faced is how to finance a US$5 billion WiMax rollout in its Xohm division. Xohm President Barry West last week said the company is seeking financial partners in that venture.

Sprint is also facing continuing concerns about integrating Nextel operations and personnel since that company was acquired in 2005, according to the Journal. Hesse also is reported to be considering a full consolidation into the spacious Overland Park campus in Kansas. Its headquarters in Reston, Va., is now used by a few thousand employees. Some analysts have noted that the Nextel integration has not gone as smoothly as they would have expected.

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