Leap trimming jobs and closing stores

Leap Wireless cut 180 jobs and shuttered 27 company stores nationwide. The flat-rate carrier said the restructuring reflects its changing priorities for the year.

Leap spokesman Greg Lund told FierceWireless that 90 of the job cuts were corporate positions and 90 were "field positions." Leap has around 4,200 total corporate employees and now has 242 company-owned stores.

The company undertook a review of its stores in February and decided to close the stores in early March. Lund said the closings were part of normal repositioning that goes on in any retail business. "It's making sure that we maximize the thrusts for the year," he said.

The closings cap a busy season for Leap. The carrier recently announced a joint venture with regional, flat-rate wireless provider Pocket Communications aimed at boosting Leap's position in south Texas, where Pocket has a significant presence.

Separately, media reports indicate Leap has hired major banks and formed a special committee of its board to consider various strategic options, including selling the company or merging with another carrier. However, the company appears to be moving full-steam ahead on its own plans for the year. During its fourth-quarter earnings announcement, the carrier said later this year it plans to launch a BlackBerry device from Research In Motion as well as a smartphone running Google's Android platform.

Leap reported a net loss of $64 million in the fourth quarter, wider than a year-ago loss of $54.6 million. However, the carrier's total and service revenues were up in the quarter.

For more:
- see this San Diego Business Journal article

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