Sprint has just signed an unprecedented 7 year network management deal with Ericsson. This 4.5-5 billion dollar deal is huge news for the mobile industry, and could signal a big change in Sprint's fortunes. Sprint underwent some severe difficulties earlier this year, but things seem to have been turning around for them as of late. The Palm Pre is selling well and, although it's been a while since they've seen any real growth, the hemorrhaging seems to have stopped.
This network management agreement will turn responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Sprint network to Ericsson. While no one will be laid off due to this arrangement, six thousand Sprint employees will be transferred over to Ericsson in order to continue managing the network. The reason for this change is simple; Sprint wants to be able to focus all of their resources on innovation and growing their brand.
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Sprint makes it clear that, despite how this may look, they are not actually giving up any control over their network. Ericsson will manage and maintain it, but the decisions on how to use and improve the network architecture will reside with Sprint alone. This is a good thing. Whatever else you want to say about Sprint, they know how to run a network. There's a reason they have the most reliable 3G network out there.