Sprint plans dozens of layoffs in wholesale business

* Blames layoffs on lack of growth in cable, long distance

* Layoffs to affect dozens out of 42,000 workers

* Sprint shares rise 1.74 percent on NYSE

NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp S.N said on Tuesday it is planning dozens of layoffs in its wholesale business due to a lack of growth in the landline segment, particularly from customers such as cable providers.

The company, which employs a total of 42,000 people, declined to give an exact number but said the layoffs would affect less than 100 of its employees in its roughly 575 strong wholesale business.

Sprint said that because its cable telephony business has been shrinking it will instead focus on growth areas such as machine-to-machine, which involve wirelessly connecting devices such as electricity meters.

Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint's cable partners include Comcast Corp CMCSA.O and Time Warner Cable Inc TWC.N, which use Sprint's network to sell Internet telephony. (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing Bernard Orr)