Sweden-based equipment vendor Ericsson has secured a deal worth US$2 billion to take over management of Sprint Nextel’s mobile networks in the US, a Swedish business newspaper has reported. According to Affarsvarlden, Sprint is to outsource management of its networks to Ericsson as part of the beleaguered US operator’s plan to reduce its workforce by some 8,000 over the next few weeks. The report said that 6,000 staff would be transferred from Sprint to Ericsson as part of the outsourcing deal. A spokesperson for Ericsson told Mobile Business Briefing that the company does “not comment on rumours and speculation.”
If confirmed, the alliance would be a surprise as Sprint operates CDMA, iDEN and WiMAX networks, while Ericsson is a specialist in GSM, WCDMA and upcoming LTE technology. However, Ericsson has recently struck a deal with Sprint rival Verizon Wireless – another CDMA-based operator – to help build its new LTE network. Sprint, meanwhile, has suffered ongoing problems in integrating its CDMA and iDEN networks following the merger between Sprint and Nextel in 2005 and is currently losing significant market share to rivals.