T-Mobile USA plans to close seven call
centers and lay off 1,900 employees in a cost-cutting move its chief executive says
is needed to “invest for growth.”
The cuts come as T-Mobile is preparing
to embark on a costly “reinvigorated challenger strategy” in the wake
of AT&T’s failed takeover attempt.
“Concentrating call centers is an
important step to achieve competitive cost structures to successfully compete
as challenger and value player in the wireless market,” T-Mobile President and
CEO Philipp Humm said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “These are
not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order
to invest for growth.”
Call centers in Allentown, Pa.; Fort
Lauderdale, Fla.; Lenexa, Kan.; Thornton, Co.; Redmond, Ore.; and Frisco and
Brownsville, Texas, will remain open for the next three months before being
About 3,300 people work at the
facilities. T-Mobile says it will begin hiring immediately for up to 1,400
positions at its remaining 17 call centers and is offering relocation
assistance to workers who are able to find a new post.
Severance pay, outplacement support and
some health care coverage is being offered to the 1,900 workers left displaced
by the restructuring.
More cuts could be in store. The company
said it plans to “restructure and optimize” some of its other
operations by the end of June.
T-Mobile received $3 billion from
AT&T as part of its breakup fee, but it plans to use the cash for a $4
billion network modernization project and the launch of its LTE service next
year. It also plans to “revitalize” its brand and invest in 1,000 new
business sales employees.
The carrier has been gradually shrinking
its U.S. call center workforce. Reports emerged last August that its parent
company Deutsche Telekom planned to cut about 2,600 American call center jobs, but T-Mobile dismissed the claims as a rumor spread
by the Communication Workers of America union and claimed the staff reductions
had been from “natural attrition” instead of layoffs.
Verizon Wireless recently announced a similar move, but insisted its call
center consolidation was “not a cost-cutting exercise” and said it would
attempt to relocate the more than 3,000 workers affected by the changes.