Verizon lays off 800, consolidates

Verizon Wireless will cut approximately 800 employees to streamline operations and expedite decision making, the company said on Thursday.

"What this is, clearly, is a restructuring of our business to make ourself more nimble," said Howie Waterman, a Verizon Wireless spokesman. Waterman could not say if the company will have expenses related to the restructuring.

The cuts represent about 2 percent of the 40,000 employees of Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon Communications. and Vodafone Group Waterman said. The cuts are across the board and Verizon Wireless still expects to hire about 2,000 new employees during 2001, he said.

The company also will consolidate seven major operating units into four and cut the number of regional offices from 33 to 22, the company said.

Verizon Wireless, which has 27.5 million subscribers, initially announced in August that it planned to file for an IPO (initial public offering). But the decision to take the company public is on hold for now.

Verizon Wireless was formed in 2000 with the union of Bell Atlantic 's and Vodafone's US cellular, paging and PCS (personal communications services) businesses. Verizon Wireless also acquired GTE Wireless when Bell Atlantic and GTE completed their merger in June. Verizon Communications holds a 55 percent stake in Verizon Wireless with Vodafone making up the other 45 percent.

Verizon Wireless, in Dallas, can be reached at +1-972-860-3200 or http://www.verizonwireless.com/Verizon Communications, in New York, can be contacted at +1-212-395-2121 or http://www.verizon.com. Vodafone, in Newbury, England, is at +44-1635-33251 or http://www.vodafone.com/.

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