Sprint contracts to slash technology jobs

Overland Park company signs agreements to outsource work dealing with software systems

? Sprint Corp. said Monday it would use outside contractors to handle some software operations, a move that would affect hundreds of jobs at the Overland Park-based telecommunications firm.

Sprint said it had reached separate agreements with IBM Global Services and EDS Corp. to provide application development and maintenance support for selected software systems. IBM and EDS are expected to work with overseas contractors, who will take over tasks including software development, computer coding and specification writing.

Sprint said it was outsourcing jobs to save money. Over the five-year terms of the contracts, Sprint expects to reduce costs associated with the selected applications by $150 million.

Sprint officials said they did not know exactly how many people would be laid off, but that “several hundred jobs” would be affected by the outsourcing.

“Within that some will stay, some will move on,” said Michael W. Stout, Sprint’s chief information officer. “And that’s the planning that we’re doing right now with the outsourcers is to determine the number and who.”

Stout said the company would make those decisions within the next several weeks. Sprint’s information technology operation has about 7,000 employees, including more than 5,000 in the Kansas City area.

Shares of Sprint FON, the company’s wireline division, closed down 41 cents at $14.63 in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of PCS, the company’s wireless division, closed down 14 cents at $5.68.