Sprint to eliminate up to 2,500 positions, cut costs by $350 million

Sprint Nextel said it will eliminate 2,000 to 2,500 jobs as part of an effort to trim labor costs by at least $350 million annually.

The company said in a statement that the impact on "geographic locations will vary." Many of the positions will be eliminated by the end of this year.

Sprint has about 6,500 Kansas City area employees, mostly at the company's Overland Park headquarters. The announcement about layoffs came the same day as reports leaked out indicating Sprint was preparing to invest an additional $1 billion in its Clearwire partnership that is rolling out high speed phone and Internet services.

The reductions include some cuts announced last week in the company's wholesale operations. Those affected employees were said to be in the dozens. The reductions will also include "contractor and other outside labor."

Sprint will provide severance benefits and outplacement services for impacted employees.

The company expects to recognize a charge of about $60 million to $80 million during the fourth quarter for severance and related costs.

Sprint said in its announcement that the labor cost reductions "are the latest action in the company'sefforts to make its cost structure more competitive in the industry and to remain financially secure in a challenging economic environment.

At the end of the third quarter, Sprint had $5.9 billion in cash and other liquid investments.