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Sprint Group Exits Data Biz

With an eye towards reducing costs and streamlining operations, Sprint executives Friday vowed to exit the data business, erasing 1,100 jobs.

Len Lauer, Sprint global markets group (GMG) president, said Sprint is ending its high-speed Internet service and moving its data hosting business to other parts of the company.

Officials expect the severance checks will be offset by operating-cost savings, making the move immaterial from a financial standpoint.

"These actions also reflect a need to better unify GMG sales teams and ensure that our valuable customers have streamlined access for total end-to-end solutions from Sprint," Lauer said.

The decision to drop DSL from the L-D group comes only one year after a big marketing push by the division to move into the high-speed data arena. Sprint officials say the DSL service offered in Sprint's business group is unaffected by the announcement.

Also moving to Sprint's business division is the Sprint E|Solutions service, which provides Web hosting, data network consulting, sales and support to business America. Customer and technical support will move from GMG into Sprint's network services department.

A complete exit from the high-speed service would hardly serve a company that spent $1.1 billion last November to beef up its data network. The Nortel Networks-equipped network kept E|Solutions and DSL service close to home, rather than forcing the company to lease out asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) lines to provide advanced data services like VPN and voice over IP (VoIP).