US operator Sprint is to slash 800 jobs in its customer services department because fewer people are making calls to its centers, reports the Associated Press.
Despite the redundancies, the operator is reported to have said it expected its overall number of employees to remain at about 40,000 because of hiring in other parts of the business, including at its retail stores.
The operator also attributed the decrease in calls to its centers to an improvement in levels of customer satisfaction.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) enjoys a rating of 71 out of 100 – the same as last year but up from a low of 56 in 2008 – compared with 73 for Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA), 70 for AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and 68 for T-Mobile (Bellevue, WA, USA).
Sprint trails both AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the country’s mobile market and faces a tough challenge from a resurgent T-Mobile, which recently reported its first quarter of post-paid customer growth for four years.
Last month, however, Japan’s SoftBank (Tokyo) completed a $21.6 billion acquisition of a 78% stake in Sprint that should allow the operator to accelerate the pace of its 4G network rollout and close the gap on its bigger rivals.
Meanwhile, Sprint’s own acquisition of Clearwire (Bellevue, WA, USA) – a mobile broadband operator in which it previously held a 50.8% stake – has given it access to a generous quantity of spectrum that should allow it to provide higher-speed LTE services to its customers.
For the three months ending June, Sprint reported revenues of $8.88 billion, about the same as during the same period of 2012, but its net loss widened to $1.6 billion from $1.4 billion over the same period.
The operator blamed increased losses largely on costs associated with the shutdown of the Nextel network.
However, disregarding the impact of the SoftBank and Clearwire transactions, Sprint raised its full-year forecast for operating income before depreciation and amortization to between $5.5 billion and $5.7 billion, from a previous figure of between $5.2 billion and $5.5 billion.