As T-Mobile and Sprint continue to pursue regulatory approval for their proposed $26 billion merger, the nation’s third and fourth-largest carriers on Wednesday announced a promise to create jobs by building five new customer experience centers, should the deal get the greenlight.
T-Mobile and Sprint said each new center will create an average of 1,000 new jobs, and when combined with planned expansions at two existing T-Mobile customer centers, will provide up to 5,600 American customer service jobs by 2021.
Overland Park, Kan., the home of Sprint headquarters, has been selected as the first location. It will be an addition to the existing Sprint campus, which was previously named as the combined company’s secondary headquarters if the deal is completed. The new customer experience centers will be integrated and offer T-Mobile’s Team of Experts (TEX), the customer service strategy the operator unveiled last August.
“I am so excited to share this news with our employees, our customers and everyone who calls the KC metro home,” said Marcelo Claure, Executive Chairman of the Board of Sprint, in a statement. “Bringing a Customer Experience Center to Overland Park will be a huge job creator for Kansas City, and is a great first step in shaping what HQ2 will become. Working with local, state and federal leaders like Gov. Kelly and Sen. Moran, I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing things that the New T-Mobile will do for our community.”
T-Mobile and Sprint say that by 2024 the combined company will employ 7,500 more customer care workers than they would on a standalone basis. In total, the companies expect more than 12,000 newly created jobs servicing small and rural communities as a direct result of the proposed merger.
The announcement comes as executives from both companies prepare to testify before lawmakers next month about the merger’s potential impacts on consumers, competition, and jobs.
Both T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure have agreed to testify at the joint hearing, scheduled for Feb. 13, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.
“A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would combine two of the four largest wireless carriers and the carriers with the largest numbers of low-income customers. As the Committees with oversight of the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice, we must hold this hearing to examine the effects on important issues like jobs, costs to consumers, innovation and competition,” said committee members in a statement. “We look forward to examining this merger from the perspective of what is in the best interest of consumers and hardworking people.”
Last week, five senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee wrote a letter asking leadership to hold a hearing on the merger. Though the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights held a hearing on the merger last June, U.S. Senators Edward Markey, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Udall, Tammy Baldwin, and Richard Blumenthal wrote that “there are several complex issues that remain regarding how this merger might affect wireless consumers, prices, and innovation.”
Multiple parties have raised concerns over the merger, including a group called 4Competition Coalition that formed in December calling on policymakers to block the Sprint/T-Mobile deal. The group, which includes Dish Network, Communications Workers of America (CWA), C-Spire, Public Knowledge and NTCA, argue the merger will result in higher prices, less competition, job losses, and harm to rural consumers.
“Americans deserve more choices for wireless service, not fewer,” said Phillip Berenbroick, Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel, in a statement when the group first formed. “If this merger is approved, consumers would likely face a price increase of more than 15 percent in many cases for their wireless service – without seeing any of the benefits that these companies promise. The proposed merger is anti-competitive and presumptively unlawful. The bottom line is that when it comes to wireless, consumers need more choices and more competition. “
The CWA union has claimed the tie-up could result in 30,000 job losses.
T-Mobile and Sprint have continuously promised their merger would actually create jobs and result in competitive benefits in the marketplace. They’ve also said the deal is needed in order to effectively compete in the 5G market.