Sprint owner confirms job cuts will be "in the thousands"

SoftBank also wants $2 billion cut from annual costs

Sprint Chairman and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told reporters in Tokyo early Wednesday that job cuts at Sprint will be "in the thousands" as part of a restructuring plan.

His comments came as SoftBank, which owns more than 70% of Sprint, reported its quarterly earnings.

"Sprint is now in the position to increase the pace of user acquisition while cutting costs," Son said, according to Bloomberg and other news sources. "We will also cut staff. The cuts will be in the thousands."

Son's comments are not out of line with things Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has been telling Sprint workers for months.

On Tuesday, Sprint's stock price sagged downward after an earnings report included a statement that the carrier plans to cut $2 billion or more in operating expenses for its fiscal 2016 year, which begins in April.

Son also said the $2 billion is a "minimum target" and should be the amount slashed annually, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The company now has more than $25 billion in annual costs.

Sprint has been investing in attracting new customers, which has been costly but effective. On Tuesday, Sprint reported it gained 237,000 postpaid phone customers in the second fiscal quarter that ended Sept. 30, the first time it showed gains on that measure in two years. It also reported its lowest customer cancellation rate in company history.

In November 2014, Sprint had said it would cut 2,000 jobs as part of $1.5 billion in cost reductions, which came atop of 5,000 jobs that Sprint cut from January through September 2014. The company had 31,000 workers at the start of its current fiscal year on April 1.

It isn't clear if Son's latest comments alter Sprint's earlier tally for expected job cuts, which are expected to begin next year. A spokesman at Sprint didn't offer much clarity when asked on Wednesday.

"As we've been saying for a few weeks now, we don't have specific numbers yet," said the Sprint spokesman, Dave Tovar. "We are working through the process to identify areas across the company where we can reduce costs. That will include some job reductions. We will share more details when we can."

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