After reporting a third-quarter loss of $478 million and 545,000 customers, Sprint plans to let go between 2,000 and 2,500 people – about 6% of its 42,000-strong workforce – by the end of this year. The company expects the job cuts to reduce annual expenses by $350 million, and it will dole out $60 million to $80 million in severance payments during the fourth quarter.

The layoffs will affect positions across the entire company, including its wholesale unit and even contractors. The carrier said it would be careful to ensure that the restructuring doesn't impact its recently improved customer service record.

When Sprint's current CEO Dan Hesse took over in late 2007, poor service was a common complaint among customers. Support has improved so drastically in the last two years, however, that the company has discontinued using 27 call centers.

Including this bout of layoffs and the transfer of 6,000 employees to Ericsson, Sprint has reduced its global workforce by some 16,500 in 2009.