Sprint is opening a regional office in Little Rock that will add about 100 jobs by the end of the year and serve as the telecom company’s headquarters for a four-state region.
Officials with Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint announced in November the creation of four geographic areas – West, Central, Northeast and South – with 18 regional offices in major U.S. markets. The South geographic area covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Central Texas.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sprint’s regional headquarters to Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “Little Rock has a very competitive data and telecommunications industry with many skilled workers to fill Sprint’s needs. These are exactly the type of jobs we need here in Arkansas.”
The regional headquarters will be located at the end of I-630 in Little Rock at 900 South Shackleford Rd.
Arkansas provided two of its standard incentive programs to Sprint for the expansion. The “Create Rebate” program provides a cash rebate equal to 3.9% of new payroll for 10 years, and through the “Customized Training” program the AEDC will pay up to $166,000 for workforce training.
According to the AEDC, Sprint plans to add about 100 new, full-time employees in Little Rock by the end of 2016 and several hundred positions throughout the state over the next three years. The Sprint jobs numbers in Arkansas are expected to quadruple in three years from what they are now.
Jonathan Blitz, Sprint president for the South Central region, said the regional office structure better connects the company with its markets.
“Sprint is on a quest to win in this market, and our laser focus on localization now gives us the ability to tap into all of the talent right here in Little Rock, and throughout Arkansas,” Blitz said in the AEDC press release. “It also brings us closer to consumers with a goal of providing superior customer experience, an enhanced network and emphasis on community engagement efforts.”
The South Central region includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
Sprint has more than 230 company and dealer-owned stores in Arkansas, with 34 in Little Rock. Over the last three years, Sprint has spent more than $62 million on network enhancements in Arkansas. The company reported 58.4 million total network connections systemwide as of Dec. 31.
Sprint, a publicly held company (NYSE: S), is set to release fiscal third quarter earnings on May 3. Share prices in the past 52 weeks have ranged from a $5.29 high to a $2.18 low. Estimates have the company posting a 12 cent per share loss for the quarter.
The company has been hit hard thanks to aggressive competition from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, and has posted net losses each quarter since the second quarter of 2014. Also, shares that traded above $20 in early 2007, have since struggled to stay above $5 per share.
Also on Friday the company announced $3.1 billion in two deals that will provide the company with needed capital. A deal with Mobile Leasing Solutions involving the sale and lease-back of devices provides Sprint with $1.1 billion in cash. An 18 month bridge loan from Tokyo-based Mizuho Bank provides access to $2 billion, with a provision that could provide another $500 million.
“The 18-month bridge financing facility was arranged by Mizuho Bank, LTD and provides Sprint with $2 billion of liquidity as the company continues to execute its turnaround initiatives, densify and optimize its network, and progress towards other financing transactions in the future,” the company noted Friday in a statement.