Sprint Nextel today said the Swedish telecom company Ericsson would run its network for the next seven years.
The deal includes the transfer of 6,000 Sprint workers to Ericsson, which is expected to receive between $4.5 billion and $5 billion payments for services over the life of the contract.
There was no immediate word on how many of the transferred workers are in the Kansas City area. The companies did say that no layoffs were planned and that the transferred employees would become part of Ericsson Services Inc., a wholly-owned Ericsson subsidiary based in Overland Park.
Sprint emphasized that it retained full ownership and control of the network and would continue to make strategic and investment decisions related to the network.
Sprint also said the deal with Ericsson should improve its network performance and let Sprint focus on customer service and product development.
Ericsson will service Sprint Nextel's wireline and wireless networks -- both the CDMA network that was Sprint's and the iDEN network that was Nextel's.