Sprint To Offer Voluntary Buyouts

According to The Kansas City Star, the company is offering some of its 57,000 employees severance packages, quoting Sprint spokesperson Lisa Zimmerman-Mott.

Zimmerman-Mott told the paper that she did not have specifics regarding the move, but that the move is strictly voluntary.

"No one is being forced to do anything," Zimmerman-Mott told the paper. "There are no forced reductions. There are no layoffs in store. It's a matter of employees having the option to exercise discretion."

Zimmerman-Mott said that employees have until Dec. 3 to make a decision and that the company will evaluate its options.

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Sprint-Nextel has already closed 11 call centers so far this year, a move that has resulted in "significant" cost savings, said CEO Dan Hesse in an earnings conference call as he detailed the company's woes.

"Our share of voice was at its lowest level ever in the second quarter, which impacted gross adds in the third quarter," said Hesse, in an earnings conference call. "The net result was a loss in third quarter of $1.1 million post paid subscribers. "

Hesse also said that on the volume side, third-quarter calls were down nearly 20 percent from first-quarter levels.

The Overland, Kan.-based company's troubles aren't all related to the consumer side. In speaking about the company's third-quarter earnings that it reported last Friday, Dan Dooley, vice president of international and wholesale markets, said that the business side is also contributing to slowing sales.

"[We're] starting to see business customers are a little bit slower in their decision-making so we haven't really seen the beginning, the middle of the economic hard times," Dooley said in the conference call.

"We see from a business point you see a lot of business customers just slowing their decisions, delaying their capital purchases, delaying their decisions, he said. "We're looking at our growth coming in 2009 from really value-added services like Voice over IP, things that are above and beyond just the core network that gives businesses either a value play or more productivity play."

President of iDEN and Nextel Direct Connect business unit Danny Bowman also said in the conference call that the company's renewal of its relationship with Motorola will be a boon to business.

"We have a great stable of new devices that are coming out now and into '09," he said. "One of the lead devices we have is iDEN Blackberry with our guaranteed less-than-one-second push-to-talk."

Stay tuned.