Kansas City, Mo. Sprint Corp. said it planned to outsource certain technology jobs, sending them overseas -- a possibility that could lead to hundreds of layoffs at the telecommunications company.
Sprint chairman and chief executive Gary Forsee said Wednesday that competitive pressures had forced the company toward "offshoring" -- the growing trend of U.S. companies relying on lower-paid computer programmers.
Sprint put out a request for proposals from outsourcing companies earlier this year and has since narrowed the list to two offshore vendors.
Forsee said Sprint was conducting site surveys and was in "serious discussions" with the two companies.
"At the end of the day, it's several hundred jobs that could be impacted," Forsee said. "But we don't know what the ultimate result is."
A final decision on how to handle sending the jobs overseas was likely to come within 60 days. Layoffs would not be immediate, Forsee said, because moving work to the outsourcing companies could take six to 12 months.
Forsee also said the company hoped to ease the impact of sending jobs overseas by moving some displaced workers to other technology projects within Sprint and replacing existing contractors with Sprint employees.
Sprint already was considering moving jobs overseas when Forsee replaced William T. Esrey as the company's top executive earlier this year, but Forsee said he made the final decision to go ahead with the request.
For almost two years, Sprint has been on a campaign to lower costs to compensate for soft sales. Since October 2001, the company has eliminated more than 18,000 jobs. The company cut 500 call center jobs in Lawrence.