AT&T commented publicly Friday in regards to T-Mobile’s announcement on Thursday to cut as many as 1,900 jobs from its nationwide call centers. As we noted in the original post yesterday, AT&T had promised to preserve U.S. call center jobs and even bring others back from overseas if the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice approved its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA. Ultimately, however, the merger was shot down and now AT&T is saying “we told you so.”
“Yesterday, T-Mobile made the sad announcement that it would be closing seven call centers, laying off thousands of workers, and that more layoff announcements may follow,” said Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs in a blog post. “Normally, we’d not comment on something like this. But I feel this is an exception for one big reason– only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved. We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs. Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast. But for the government’s decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security. Only a few months later, the truth of who was right is sadly obvious.”
Cicconi also said that the FCC “not only rejected” AT&T’s predictions but also questioned the credibility of its claims. His blog post also goes into detail about how the FCC had originally argued that the merger would itself result in job cuts. “It is a reminder that in government, as in life, decisions have consequences,” he said. “One must approach them not as an exercise of power but instead of responsibility, because, as I learned in my years of public service, the price of a bad decision is too often paid by someone else.”
UPDATE: The FCC sent a response to All Things D:
Competition benefits all wireless consumers. The bottom line is that AT&T’s proposal to acquire a major competitor was unprecedented in scope and the company’s own confidential documents showed that the merger would have resulted in significant job losses.