Sprint Nextel to Eliminate 8,000 Jobs

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Sprint Nextel Corp. is eliminating about 8,000 positions in the first quarter as it seeks to cut annual costs by $1.2 billion.

The nation's third-largest wireless provider said Monday it will complete the layoffs largely by March 31. About 850 of the reductions are voluntary and the company said it expected a charge of more than $300 million for severance and other costs.

The company is also suspending its 401(k) match for the year, extending a freeze on salary increases and is suspending a tuition reimbursement program.

The Overland Park, Kan.-based company has struggled since acquiring Nextel Communications Inc. in 2005 as technical problems, poor efforts to consolidate the two companies and stiff competition for feature-rich phones has led many subscribers to switch to competing services.