AT&T Statement on T-Mobile
Closing Seven Call Centers

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on March 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs:

“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. 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.

“At that time, the current FCC not only rejected our pledges and predictions, they also questioned our credibility. The FCC argued that the merger would cost jobs, not preserve them, and that rejecting it would save jobs. In short, the FCC said they were right, we were wrong, and did so in an aggressive and adamant way.

“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.

“So what’s the lesson here? For one thing, it’s a reminder of why “regulatory humility” should be more than a slogan. The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient. And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong. The other lesson is even more important, and should be sobering. It is a reminder that in government, as in life, decisions have consequences. 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.”

Comments (43)

Wow, attempting to take the moral high ground after defrauding taxpayers via bogus Telecommunications Relay Services charges? That’s chutzpah, Mr. Cicconi.

Adam Johnson March 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It’s all a bold faced lie and you know it. Large mergers like these never ever result in jobs saved or jobs gained. NEVER. It’s always a loss in jobs. Their are 2 companies that do the exact same thing. There will always be redundant functions. People in those functions will be fired. Period. It’s 8yr old play ground antics. Grow up AT&T. Way to run over those laid off employees with a truck on the way to making yourself feel better. It’s best you take your bruised ego and learn from it. Don’t be so pompous next time and work on being a real company that cares about it’s employees and customers instead of it’s share holders.

Dean Bradley March 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm

As an analyst and a writer, I have followed Mr. Cicconi for some time. Never have I read so heart felt a release from a corporate leader. This is not a “I told you so” statement. This is a “take heed” statement. Mr. Cicconi’s points are well taken. The FCC did step out of its bounds. If the FCC wants to micro-manage the macro economy, maybe it should apply basic economics in its analysis. Maybe it should stop being afraid of market behavior and not get in the way of it. Maybe it should allow businesses to exercise business judgment and defer to it, just like it expects a court to defer to its regulatory expertise. The FCC messed up, and the industry and consumers have a right to be ticked …

Alton Drew March 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

And how much would AT&T have been wasting of their customers’ money on keeping redundant and unnecessary call centers and workers employed? T-Mobile is cutting their costs and growing their network, working to give their customers the best value while you’re working out the best way to raise prices and claim it’s in the customers’ best interests.

I’m glad T-Mobile is still around to provide you and Verizon with the competition you so clearly need.

Blaise Alicki March 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Shame on you AT&T. Maybe you should stop allegedly stealing from the American taxpayers before you issue crap statements like this.

Yeah, we could have let you save some jobs by decimating consumer choice in wireless nationally (which would have ultimately led to more layoffs), but luckily the American consumer isn’t quite that brain dead yet.

Please go away forever AT&T.

Austin March 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Well said, Mr Cicconi.

Miele Stolz March 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm

What complete BS this statement is. You promised to save/create a small number of lower paid call center jobs but what Tmobile engineers, technicians and other workers. No guarantees on those eh. Those jobs would have been gone. And then you have higher prices for consumers without the competition in value leader Tmobile. ATT has a long history of offering less value for inflated prices. No ATT you don’t fool me. I applaud the FCC in their decision.

Paul Hilton March 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Ok so 3000 jobs were lost. How many HUNDREDS of thousands of customers are you ripping off every day?
The FCC did their job and they did it correctly.
The last thing we need is LESS competition in telecom.
If you were really interested in people either customers or employees, you would stop forcing people into messaging and data plans and stop charging ridiculous and unnecessary fees.

John March 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Interesting that AT&T thinks they would have had the first layoff-less merger.

Stay classy.

Unicorns are real March 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I think it’s Mr. Cicconi who could use a little humility. Is Mr. Cicconi asserting that there wouldn’t have been any layoffs had the merger gone through?

AT&T should focus on better serving its existing customers instead of throwing these hissy-fits. They don’t reflect well on the company.

Kevin Krueger March 23, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Most of the time I disagree with corporate executives and question the merits of their judgements. However, for the first time I can say I agree with Mr. Cicconi. The government is killing the free market system in this country by micro-managing everything at all levels. Some people call this consumer protection and pro-worker protection but in reality it is a disgusting show of Government that is way too powerful for it’s own good and cannot handle that power effectively. The merger could have gone both ways, it could have lead to increased costs and redundancy for AT&T and T-Mobile, but it could have also created new opportunities and better capitalization and revenues that would allow more jobs to grow or be protected on both sides.

We often forget what the American free market system really means, it’s sad…

Paul Grinberg March 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Angry, bitter statements are not becoming of what is supposed to be a well respected American corporation. Makes me wonder why I recently signed on as a brand new AT&T customer.

Tom Schmidt March 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I don’t believe that jobs should have played any role in the merger rejection. Should have just been rejected on monopoly grounds.

Also, I’m sure the same layoffs would have happened if the merger had gone through.

Chuck March 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Welcome to Obama’s America!

Phillip Allerholz March 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Pathetic. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Nobody bought into your lies, so now you take a cheap shot? Thats pretty classy.

Laughing March 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Wow, talk about petulance. The merger would have been a disaster for American consumers and AT&T was outright lying that it would have preserved/created jobs. They would have most surely cut redundant jobs and outsourced further. In addition, you would have seen even less competition with two companies controlling 80% of the market.

Steve Wilson March 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I am amazed at the comments who are agreeing and/or applauding AT&T, and hounding the FCC for its decision. Really? You wanted LESS competition? And yet you drone on about the liberals being the deluded ones…

Nick Peelman March 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Jim Cicconi, you probably failed to mention that yes, you might have saved these call center jobs, but eliminated a lot more of the higher paying 60k+ positions in engineering, marketing, etc…which would have been significantly more damaging than getting rid of these min wage call center positions.

Any type of job cut is disheartening to hear about but pretending to take the high road and say you would have not done it, is just plain BS.

Don Smith March 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

The Jobs AT&T claims they would have saved would have been outweighed by the monopoly the merger would have created and the price hikes.

Benjamin Kerensa March 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I agree. I think the FCC made a mistake here. I WAS a T-Mobile customer for many years, but its poor-quality customer service, inability to be competitive in technology lost me as a customer. I ENDED up an AT&T customer. Unhappy customers like me are why T-Mobile has had to scale back. Those were management problems that T-Mobile had, which AT&T could have resolved. The reality is that AT&T provides a better service and better management than what T-Mobile has had to offer. U.S. employees have lost their jobs, at the VERY TIME when the Obama Administration claims it was to keep U.S. jobs, as a result of this FCC decision. It was a mistake for T-Mobile and a mistake for America.

DC Resident March 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Dear Mr. Cicconi,

righteous is as righteous does.

So please authorize Apple to unlock my out-of-contract iPhone, as you (AT&T) promised to do

vpndev March 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

T-Mobile was and is a company at risk of failure for a host of reasons. AT&T’s offer was an opportunity for the market to resolve this situation, similar to MS offer for Yahoo. It looks like T-Mobile is on track, like Yahoo, to undergo slow death agonies.

George Providakes March 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Would one of those posting in support of AT&T please explain to me how AT&T would have managed this merger with zero net job loss? Because unless that were even a possibility, this whole post is just a man whining when he didn’t get his way.

Jared Straub March 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

As a longtime T-Mobile customer, I’m massively relieved this merger didn’t happen. For years, I lived in an area where the only broadband available was AT&T, and it was ghastly. Maybe things have changed, but when I had an AT&T cable modem, it would slow down to a crawl around dinner time, despite allegedly being “broadband.” Anytime something broke, getting through to customer service was a nightmare.

If AT&T had successfully managed to capture and eat T-Mobile, I would have switched carriers immediately. Thankfully, the FCC has saved me the hassle.

There is far too little competition in the US telecom market. A lot of people are getting very fed up! AT&T needs to learn to respect people; not treat them as cattle.

Arturius Qewpie, Esq. March 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Bollocks. The layoffs would still have occurred under the the title of redundancy. I know because I’ve personally been with this with two different companies. CIGNA acquired the carrier I had worked for (11 years) and its claims system, which was better and different from theirs. And did they keep the office and staff that knew and used the system for years/decades? No, they closed our office in favor of their office with employees who had no experience with the system–and flew us out to train them. I experienced the same thing courtesy of Aetna.
Acquirees are the prime ones released in these situations. Monopoly needs to remain as a board game not in business.

V. Jackson March 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Jim Cicconi you’re just upset because T-Mobile execs got a big fat bonus and you didn’t. What happened here was AT&T and T-Mobile tried to screw American consumers and the FCC did what it was designed to do. The only people to blame for the layoff are AT&T and T-Mobile’s executive teams. How do you sleep at night?

Charles March 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Hey! Why doesn’t everyone just come to Verizon Wireless? They actually have an 4G LTE footprint, unlike these jokes. HSPA+ is not 4G. Your iPhone, doesn’t get “4G”. Try not false advertising and stop being so bitter. AT&T is not even that great? Can you hear me now? No? Oh you must have AT&T. Try Verizon.

Justin March 23, 2012 at 10:53 pm

AT&T is just pissed off because T-Mobile is re-farming their network and launching 4G LTE on AWS and it’s going to result in making AT&T handsets fully compatible with T-Mobile’s network. That’s what has AT&T shaking in its boots.

They’re afraid of competition.

Marte Fabio March 24, 2012 at 1:25 am

AT&T is lecturing the government on antitrust policy? That is a hoot. Maybe AT&T is still smarting from that 8-year antitrust suit back in the 70s that split its monopoly into many pieces. I don’t recall AT&T talking much about the benefits of free competition back then. Who knows what we’d all be forced to pay AT&T now for its second-rate service if not for the forced divestiture.

cb50 March 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

So does this mean that att are going to give their union workers fair contracts since they seem to be so concerned about jobs and all? Let’s see them put their money where their mouth is but I won’t be holding my breath.

Del Varner March 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

This is precisely the reason AT&T’s merger was rejected… Lies! If you truly wanted to take a lesson from this event, change your corporate executive culture of dishonesty and deception.

How many stores did you shut down in preparation for your “job saving” merger? How many employee’s left? You won’t report these numbers because it goes directly against your false portrayal.

Mr. Cicconi, You are the failure, you are the shortfall and you are also a shame on the honest employees of AT&T.

Witness to your treachery,
TA&A employee

TAandA Exec March 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

FCC: “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.”

Wow Just Wow March 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

AT&T is just a tad hypocritical. They continue with layoffs by the hundreds. Even IT positions are being let go. And then they off-shore the work to save money even though they really don’t need to save money. Keep up the the great job laying off people American companies. See who is left in America to buy your products. Nothing like shooting yourselves in the foot.

plethora March 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Had the merger closed, some jobs would have been lost in the short term, but far more jobs would have been created long term by virtue of the national 4G network the merger would have made possible. While I hope T-M competes effectively, its plans remain unclear even after receiving its $6B cash and spectrum breakup fee. Unfortunately, T-M’s closing of these call centers isn’t indicative of a plan for competition and growth.

Had the merger closed, these call center jobs would have been saved. That is Jim Cicconi’s point, and he’s right. It’s a teachable moment.

David Honig March 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Does Jim Cicconi take us for fools? Why is using these poor people from T-mobile as an example in order to scold the FCC?

For once, FCC made the right decision, and we as Americans should all CELEBRATE that the merger did not go through.

AT&T has been cheating the American public for over 100 years. Being a monopoly is in its DNA. Let’s hope small regional carriers, pre-paid independents, and high-tech firms will continue to turn the heat up on AT&T and Verizon and take their customers.

AT&T brings no value to the consumer other than charging exuberant fees for ridiculous 2 or 5GB data plans.

Enslaved by Mobile Carriers March 25, 2012 at 5:13 am

I think this is a heartfelt message with good points made and deserves to be heard.

Lisa Flynn March 26, 2012 at 8:42 am

These industry sock posts are hilarious. “heart felt”. Twice even! Can you say “script”? at&t and their industry shills are shameless.

Jak Crow March 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

This news is quite disturbing since AT&T had agreed that it would work to preserve the call centers and would also retain thousands of jobs (especially during these very difficult economic times). While the future of call centers has always been in doubt, the fact that AT&T made a commitment to keep them spoke volumes to me.

This is an example of why FCC should think before it acts. T-Mobile isn’t a sustainable business model; it needed AT&T.

Customer service in this industry is extremely important. Without the call centers, T-Mobile will be even weaker than it already is.

Sad day.

Bill Imada March 26, 2012 at 11:19 am

Just another plea for corporate wealthcare.

RFOmaha March 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Nearly every civil rights organization, every major union and the nation’s minority intergovernmental organizations supported the merger because of their belief that the transaction would have a positive impact on job creation. They were right and Cicconi is right. Unfortunately for the FCC, T-Mobile’s job losses are just an inconvenient truth.

Kristal High March 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

In life, more often than not, the quality of the information you receive dictates the value and results of the decisions we make. Perhaps that’s what happened to the FCC when it rejected AT&T’s bid to buy T-Mobile. Bad information led to a bad decision!!! I supported the AT&T purchase of T-Mobile because I thought it would mean more opportunities in mobile broadband for Americans, particularly for African Americans and those living in rural communities and other places that are now lagging behind. I also recognized that the merger would create thousands and thousands of new jobs. The FCC disagreed with me. That is their prerogative, but I and leaders of other civil rights organizations were disappointed to see that the FCC’s draft ruling never cited anything I or other civil rights organizations (nearly all of which endorsed the merger) said.

Now it turns out that T-Mobile is laying off 2,000 workers at its call centers – jobs that AT&T pledged to keep if the merger had gone through. The FCC said it didn’t believe AT&T’s jobs estimates – and it also indicated that it expected T-Mobile would do just fine if it kept competing on its own. I say this in sorrow, not to say “I told you so”, but it now appears the FCC acted on bad information – or at least bad predictions about the future. I hope it learns from its mistake and votes for more jobs, not fewer, the next time it gets the chance.

Danny Bakewell March 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

The FCC did not act on bad information. Thank goodness they had the sense to see through all the LIES. If AT&T ws truly interested in making a RIGHTEOUS effort to better the economy – well start by lowering your prices! Oh riiight – you are for profit – GOTCHA! So the willingness to BUYOUT T mobile was about PROFIT not about the American people! The Buyout, would have been the mistake of the century. Make no mistake, T mobile was and is not interested in a partnership. Truly they only wanted the cash to fund their overseas venture(Come on people do your research on the company). As for the layoff GOOD RIDANCE, their customer service is…wait thats an oxymoron because they have NO customer service. They are losing the customers the serve poorly and therefore they are losing money and therefore they have to close centers. But lets face it those GIVING the poor customer service don’t deserve to be employed anyway…As for the mismanagement in business, well that is nothing new. There will always be another company waiting to capitalize on the failure of another. As for AT&T,Mr. Cicconi come down off that telephone pole….air is to thin up there and you obviously can not think clearly!

Lorrie March 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

In an atmosphere of a limited jobs market and a less than robust economy, the sustainability of the T-M structure has always been a question mark. The merger would have preserved more jobs in the short-run and contributed to long-term growth in the some of the most depressed regions. This predictable turn of events at T-M moves the industry toward a less competitive model, while the merger would have strengthen T-M’s business units.

Floyd Mori March 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

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