Sprint Restructuring Leads to the End of ION
Sprint Corp. late Wednesday announced that it is terminating its broadband Integrated on Demand Network and ceasing customer acquisition for its Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Service fixed wireless services.
The company plans to lay off 2,200 employees in connection with those moves as well as an additional 3,800 employees in the carriers Global Markets Group and consumer and small business groups; 1,500 contractors will lose their jobs, as well.
"We are taking significant steps to reduce our cost structure and sharpen our focus on the products and services that hold the best potential for growth and return on investment," said William Esrey, Sprints chairman and CEO, in a statement. "Several factors influenced our decision to discontinue the Sprint ION initiative, including the rapidly changing industry landscape and future funding requirements for ION, especially in light of the economic slowdown and the uncertainty of the timing of a recovery."
ION, a high-speed IP network that Sprint developed three years ago to offer converged voice and data services, currently has 4,000 customers. Sprint officials said that the company will help transfer them to other service arrangements.
Sprint officials said the company will continue to support its current fixed wireless customers, but will wait for next-generation fixed wireless technology to mature before adding more. Current MMDS technology is restricted to line-of-sight transmission, requiring that the customers antenna have a direct connection with the main transmitter.
In addition, Sprint is consolidating its consumer and small-business operations into a single mass-market organization, which will focus on bundled PCS and local telephone offerings, officials said.