Sprint Corp., the third-largest wireless carrier in the U.S., said Tuesday that it is cutting about 1,550 customer service jobs, including 450 at its 900-person call center in north Fort Worth.The job reductions reflect customers’ growing familiarity with smartphones as well as simpler rate plans that result in fewer calls to customer service centers, company spokeswoman Melinda Tiemeyer said.Sprint is also cutting 150 call center positions in Temple and about 400 in Orlando, Fla., she said. The Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier is also closing call centers in Sacramento, Calif.; Elmsford, N.Y.; and Overland Park. Those closures will result in the loss of about 550 jobs, Tiemeyer said. Sprint employs about 40,000 people overall, she said.The company told employees in a January internal announcement that “strategic changes” for parts of the company would include job reductions in the first half of 2014, she said.“We are seeing fewer calls coming into customer care,” Tiemeyer said. “That’s the result, for example, that many customers are on their second or third smartphone so they are well past the learning curve of using their phones.” Simpler rate plans and unlimited rate plans have also resulted in fewer questions about bills, Tiemeyer said.“Also, our technology is improving, our customers can use more self-service options to make changes to their account. That’s something we’ve tried to do more as an organization to help customers do more online themselves,” she said.Sprint has operated its Fort Worth call center in the Mercantile Business Park near Meacham Airport for more than a decade. At one time, it employed more than 2,000 people.In August, Sprint cut about 800 jobs nationwide, including more than 100 in Fort Worth, 13 in Irving and 165 in Temple.Tokyo-based SoftBank completed its $21.6 billion takeover of the company in July. Sprint shut its Nextel network in June as part of a plan to revamp its technology, contributing to the loss of 1.05 million monthly subscribers in the second quarter.Employees who are losing their jobs as of March 25 will be eligible for separation benefits, including additional pay based on length of service, Tiemeyer said.“Wherever possible we are going to try and place them in other positions,” she said. This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Steve Campbell, 817-390-7981 Twitter: @stevecamp