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Mobile

Sprint PCS to lay off 1,660

The wireless carrier announces companywide changes that will thin management ranks by 1,660 and expand the availability of the company's business-focused services.

Wireless carrier Sprint PCS announced companywide changes Thursday that will thin management ranks by 1,660 and expand the availability of the company's business-focused services.

The job cuts are meant to "streamline the decision-making process," said Sprint PCS representative Dan Wilinsky. He said the affected employees work in four areas: engineering, information technology, marketing and finance.

About 660 of the affected employees are based in the Kansas City area, where Sprint PCS is headquartered, with the balance in offices nationwide, Wilinsky said. The cuts represent 6 percent of the total Sprint PCS work force and will be made in the next few months.

The layoffs occur as U.S. cellular carriers are trying to survive a prolonged market downturn. A global economic slump in general, plus two straight years of slowing handset sales, have carriers scrambling to cut operational costs and find new revenue sources.

At Sprint PCS, Wilinsky said, the cuts will let the company "reprioritize" its products and services.

Some changes are already taking place. Sprint PCS has begun selling its business-related services at some of its retail stores. The balance of the Sprint PCS outlets will have the products and services available in the next few weeks, Wilinsky said.

In the past, businesses subscribing to Sprint PCS services, such as PCS Business Connection, had to contact Sprint's corporate sales teams, Wilinsky said. "We're speeding that process along," he said.

Nearly all the top five U.S. cellular carriers have beefed up business offerings in the last few months. The recent moves are expected to challenge Nextel Communications' reign as the leading provider for small- to large-sized offices.