AT&T to return jobs to US if T-Mobile deal is approved

The carrier promises to bring 5,000 call-center jobs back to the US after the acquisition

AT&T will return 5,000 outsourced call-center jobs to the U.S. if regulators approve its proposed US$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA, the company said Wednesday.

AT&T, awaiting a decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, also promised that the merger will not cause job losses at U.S. call centers for both companies. AT&T has not yet determined what countries the 5,000 jobs will come from, the company said in a press release.

"At a time when many Americans are struggling and our economy faces significant challenges, we're pleased that the T-Mobile merger allows us to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States and significantly increase our investment here," Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Critics of the deal, announced in March, have suggested that the acquisition will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs as the two companies combine operations.

AT&T expects "workforce reductions to be achieved largely by natural attrition," spokesman Michael Balmoris said.

Critics have said the merger would reduce the number of nationwide mobile carriers from four to three and could lead to higher mobile service prices with low-cost competitor T-Mobile eliminated. AT&T could better use the $39 billion to build out and improve its existing network, critics have said.

AT&T has argued that the deal will allow the carrier to bring LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile broadband service to 97 percent of the U.S., as opposed to 80 percent without the merger. T-Mobile executives have said they don't have the spectrum to offer LTE service without the merger. The merger will result in better mobile service, with fewer dropped calls and faster data speeds, AT&T has said.

AT&T has promised, as part of the merger to increase its U.S. infrastructure investment by more than $8 billion. A study by the Economic Policy Institute projected that the investment would create up to 96,000 new U.S. jobs.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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Tags business issuesU.S. Department of JusticeantitrusttelecommunicationregulationMichael BalmorisRandall StephensonT-Mobile USAEconomic Policy Institutepersonnel4g3gat&tlegalU.S. Federal Communications Commissiongovernment

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