Sprint Searches For Happier Days

Sprint Nextel Corp. is having a rough time lately. Denied a slot Networx Universal, the General Services Administration’s big governmentwide telecommunications procurement, Sprint is also performing sluggishly in the private sector, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Many of the problems revolve around Nextel, the cell phone carrier Sprint acquired for $35 billion in 2004. Subscribership has declined amid complaints of poor service. Chief Executive Officer Gary Forsee recently laid off 8 percent of the company's workforce and “has promised that a turnaround will start by the end of the second quarter,” the Journal reported.

Sprint is betting heavily on broadband wireless technology known as WiMax, which it intends to roll out in several markets this year. Whether WiMax will help the company much in the federal market is an open question, however.

"Initially, it's going to be driven by consumer customers," Tony D'Agata, general manager of Sprint's government systems division, told Government Executive late last year. It could take a while for the technology to migrate from the consumer sector to the government.