Sprint Trims Management Ranks

Sprint is taking dozens of steps — including trimming its management ranks — to reach its goal of reducing $1 billion off its annual operating budget.

“We have 41 (cost-cutting) projects underway,” CFO Bob Dellinger said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call today.

The Overland, Kan., voice and data provider will have about 12 percent fewer managers by year’s end. The review of high-level positions was triggered by the company’s reorganization around its consumer and business groups.

In addition, Sprint recently hired IBM and Electronic Data Systems to develop and maintain some of its software systems.

Sprint expects the deal, which is similar to one signed by rival Qwest , to save about $150 million over five years.

The company also says it expects to lower its capital expense spending next year by 10 percent to 15 percent. It will focus its efforts on circuit-to-packet conversions and DSL lines.

The cost cuts enabled Sprint to raise its fiscal year earnings forecasts, however its revenue prediction remains at the low end of previous guidance because of continued competition and price pressures.

In the third quarter, the company’s traditional wireline business lost $433 million, or 48 cents per share, including a $1.2 billion write-down for the value of its MMDS spectrum to just $300 million. The company is abandoning plans to develop a residential fixed-wireless business.

Third-quarter revenue was $3.54 billion, down from $ 3.82 billion for the same period last year.

Sprint’s wireless business results are reported under a separate ticker . Eventually, management wants to merge the two issues, however, no further word on the timing came during today’s call.

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