Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to lay off several thousand employees, according to a media report Monday.

The exact number of layoffs was not clear but it is expected to be in the range of a few thousand, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.

Daniel Hesse, the Wireless carrier's new chief executive who took over the job in December, seeks to show investors the company's commitment to efficiency and discipline, the Journal said. The Virginia-based company has more than 60,000 employees.

Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service with 54 million customers, has been losing market share as it has struggled with network and customer service issues.

AT&T, Inc. one of its top competitors, leads the telecom sector with over 100 million subscribers. Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Plc. With has 63.7 Million customers.

Analysts attribute AT&T's addition of 2.4 million new users in the fourth quarter to the popularity of Apple's iPhone and a strong push from its prepaid service packages. Verizon is expected to post a solid 1.9 million fourth-quarter subscriber gain.

Hesse is also considering a plan to consolidate Sprint's executive headquarters in Reston, Virginia and operational and engineering headquarters in Overland Park.

Shares of Sprint rose 11 cents to a close of $12.36 on the New York Stock Exchange. AT&T shares rose 31 cents to $38.51.