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Sprint axes 4,000 jobs, closes 125 stores

Workers tumble through gaping subscriptions hole

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US mobile phone provider Sprint Nextel said today it will slash around 4,000 jobs and close about eight per cent of its stores, in an attempt to claw back costs in the face of a haemorrhaging customer base.

The firm admitted in a statement that it has been hit by an inability to attract new subscribers to its service.

Sprint - which recorded a total subscriber base of 53.8 million at the end of 2007 - said in a statement that 125 stores and some 4,000 retail outlets throughout the US would be closed, in a cost-cutting exercise that could save the struggling firm $700 to $800m by the end of the year.

Sprint said 683,000 post-paid subscribers and 202,000 prepaid subscribers had done a runner in the last quarter (Q4) alone.

According to Reuters, the firm has been squeezed by bigger rivals such as AT&T. It has also been hindered by customer service and network problems, as well as feeling the pinch from the credit crunch crisis.

The company said that it picked up 500,000 new subscribers through its wholesale channels in the last quarter, and recorded growth of 256,000 Boost Unlimited users and net additions of 20,000 subscribers in its affiliate channels.

Shares in Sprint have plummeted more than 25 per cent on Wall Street. The wireless telecom firm is due to deliver its Q4 results on 28 February. ®

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