Sprint axes 8,000 jobs to save $1.2b

Sprint Nextel will cut 8,000 jobs - around 15% of its total workforce - by March, in an attempt to cut costs by $1.2 billion per year.

"Labor reductions are always the most difficult action to take, but many companies are finding it necessary in this environment," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse.

The majority of the job cuts will apply to non-customer facing groups, Sprint has announced, and 850 of the redundancies are voluntary.

The company, which has been rapidly losing customers, has also suspended superannuation payments, extended a pre-existing salary freeze and suspended a tuition reimbursement program.

These additional measures have kept the company from having to cut a further 3,000 jobs, Hesse stated in an internal memo cited in USA Today.

The company intends to take a charge of over $300 million in Q1 to pay for severance and related costs.

Sprint shares fell 2% to $2.44 yesterday. The company will announce its Q4 2008 results on February 19. Sprint lost 1.3 million subscribers in Q3 2008 and posted a $326 million loss.