Report: Sprint to outsource network management to Ericsson

Sprint Nextel may outsource some of its network operations to Ericsson, according to a report in the Kansas City Business Journal.

The carrier, the nation's third largest, would outsource, or "re-badge" 7,000 Sprint employees, a move that would probably happen over time. Analyst Patrick Comack of Zachary Investment Research & Management said that he expected the number of re-badged employees to be around 2,000, with Sprint saving $500 million.

The move would make sense for Sprint, which has been looking to cut costs as it loses subscribers. Earlier this year the company announced it would cut 8,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, to save $1.2 billion annually. Sprint has indicated in the past that it would close call centers in 2009 to cut costs.

Sprint declined to comment on the speculation, saying that it does not comment on rumors. However, when it announced the recent round of job cuts, Sprint said that Kathy Walker, the carrier's chief networking officer, would be leaving. Additionally, former Ericsson executive Sven-Christer Nilsson joined Sprint's board last November. It was first rumored in November that Sprint might consider re-badging as a cost-cutting measure.

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