Sprint Unloading 8,000 Workers By March 31

Shares of Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) had risen nearly 2 percent by late-morning on Monday thanks to the wireless provider’s announcement that it is cutting 8,000 jobs, or 14 percent of its work force.

Sprint expects to save $1.2 billion annually.

The cuts will affect “all levels” of the company and should be completed by March 31, Sprint said.

Ever since the disastrous merger with Nextel, Sprint steadily has lost wireless subscribers, falling far behind rivals AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ). Sprint’s board hired a new CEO – Dan Hesse – just over a year ago in hopes that he could turn around the company’s reputation and financials. Despite those soothing black-and-white TV commercials, that hoped-for turnaround has not transpired. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Sprint lost $326 million.

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