updated 01:25 pm EDT, Thu July 9, 2009
Sprint hands off network
Sprint has signed a deal to hand over daily network operations to Swedish firm Ericsson, according to an announcement. Set to last at least seven years, the agreement will see Ericsson manage services, provisioning and maintenance for CDMA, iDEN and wired connections. Although Sprint is expected to maintain full ownership and control of its network, and operate all aspects seen by customers, some 6,000 Sprint workers will find themselves under Ericsson's aegis in the third quarter of 2009.
The deal is estimated to be worth between $4.5 billion and $5 billion. It should nevertheless serve as an important cost-cutting measure for Sprint, which has struggled to compete with carriers like AT&T and Verizon, in part because of problems with debt, customer service and a lack of flagship phones. The company may see some upswing as a result of the Palm Pre, widely considered to be the main rival to the Apple iPhone hosted by AT&T. Sprint claims to have broken multiple internal sales records on the Pre's first weekend.