Sprint to cut 75% of remaining Clearwire employees

Sprint (NYSE:S) indicated it will axe the vast majority of its remaining former Clearwire employees, though the carrier didn't release the precise number of job cuts. The cuts come after Sprint took control of partner Clearwire in July.

Sprint laid off 161 people in Bellevue and Kirkland, Wash., on Friday, and later said in a statement that 75 percent of Clearwire's pre-acquisition workforce will be cut. In December, Clearwire had 1,000 employees, 400 of whom lived in the Puget Sound area near Seattle, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. It's not clear how many employees Clearwire had as of late June, just ahead of the acquisition.

A Sprint spokeswoman told the Kansas City Business Journal that the company had finished notifying Clearwire employees about the cuts and that eligible employees who were let go received separation benefits and support services.

"Clearwire and Sprint have completed the process of notifying Clearwire employees about their long-term job status with the combined company," Sprint said in a statement. "Affected employees who are eligible have received information regarding job status, separation benefits and support services. Hundreds of Clearwire employees involved in serving existing Clearwire customers and the ongoing LTE network build project will continue with Sprint long-term, predominantly in Bellevue, Wash. and Herndon, Va. However, approximately 75 percent of Clearwire's pre-acquisition workforce will be affected by the separation process."

Only two Clearwire executives remain within the transformed Sprint, which itself is now owned by Japanese operator SoftBank. The two remaining executives are Dow Draper, Clearwire's former senior vice president and general manager of retail, who is now president of Sprint's prepaid operations, and John Saw, Clearwire's former CTO, who is now Sprint's senior vice president of technical architecture.

Former Clearwire executives who are no longer with Sprint include: CEO Erik Prusch; CFO Hope Cochran; Broady Hodder, senior vice president and general counsel; Scott Hopper, senior vice president of strategic business development; Andrew Macaulay, senior vice president and CIO; Don Stroberg, senior vice president of strategic partnerships and wholesale; and Beth Taska, senior vice president and chief human resources officer.

Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer said during an investor conference earlier this month that Sprint expects to deploy TD-LTE technology across 5,500 Clearwire cell sites by the end of the year using Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum, and will continue to roll that technology out across the nation next year. Euteneuer said the carrier will focus first on specific parts of cities and then across entire markets.

For more:
- see this Kansas City Business Journal article
- see this Seattle Times article
- see this Geekwire article

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