Sprint is enforcing more layoffs.
The Overland, Kan.-based wireless provider on Thursday said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that "implementation of a workforce reduction plan" began Jan. 16 and will continue through June 30.
The company said it is trying to cut costs "and better meet the changing dynamics of the marketplace." Sprint is the third-largest wireless operator in the United States and faces stiff competition from No. 1 Verizon Wireless and No. 2 AT&T.
To help combat the pressure, Sprint's majority owner, Japan's SoftBank, is said to be trying to buy T-Mobile USA, despite the anticipated intense regulatory and industry scrutiny. Layoffs often come before a merger or acquisition takes place but Sprint told the Kansas City Star late last week that the cuts have to do with efficiencies, not SoftBank. For example, people have used smartphones for long enough that they don't need as much help from customer service reps, a Sprint spokesman said.
Sprint expects to pay about $165 million for severance and related costs; that charge would be applied to its fourth-quarter 2013 results. Sprint did not specify in the filing how many jobs it plans to eliminate, or in which divisions. The Kansas City Star reported that up to 500 management and non-management jobs could be impacted, as well as a number of less-profitable retail stores.
Sprint has laid off thousands of people over the years. The most recent round came last summer, after the SoftBank deal was completed.