Sprint recently cut a significant chunk of its staff dedicated to repairing and refurbishing phones and shut down its slower-performing stores, part of a broader effort to reduce the company's costs in the face of continued financial struggles.
The Overland Park, Kan., wireless carrier laid off 330 technical consultants, closing 150 service and repair centers across the country, a Sprint representative confirmed to CNET. It also shut down 55 of its worst-performing retail stores. The moves were part of a larger plan for layoffs and cuts that was announced in January.
Sprint is attempting to streamline itself and return to profitability now that it is under the ownership of Japanese carrier SoftBank. The company, while narrowing its loss from a year ago, was still in the red by $1.62 billion in the fourth quarter amid declining revenue. In January, the company warned it would cut jobs in areas including customer care centers and less-profitable retail stores, according to the Kansas City Star. Earlier this week Sprint said that it is cutting about 1,550 customer service jobs.
In total, Sprint previously had 2,000 to 2,500 technical consultants across the country, according to Sprint representative Mark Bonavia.
Presumably, the lack of so many technical consultants would be a hindrance to Sprint and its ability to serve customers with damaged phones. But Bonavia said the cuts were designed with minimal disturbance to the customer.
While not every store will be able to service a phone, customers will be referred to a sister store that's within a 45-minute drive.
"We wanted to drive traffic to service and repair centers that were strong, and close ones that didn't operate as well," Bonavia said.
The company is cutting operational costs even as it continues to pour money into upgrading and overhauling its network, adding 4G LTE and replacing its existing 3G network for better performance. Sprint executives refer to it as the "pardon our dust" period as customers endure the sometimes painful experience of the upgrade.
Sprint is working through the upgrade process and pushing its "Framily" friends and family group plan as an incentive to sign up with the carrier.