T-Mobile to close call centers employing 3,300 workers

No. 4 wireless carrier in U.S. consolidating call centers

T-Mobile USA on Friday announced it would lay off up to 3,300 employees as part of a move to close down some call centers. The No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier will shut down seven of its 24 current call centers. Slated for closing are T-Mobile call centers in Allentown, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Frisco, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colo. and Redmond, Ore. In a prepared statement, T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm said, “Concentrating call centers is an important step to achieve competitive cost structures to successfully compete as Challenger and value player in the wireless market. These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth.” In the corporate world, "realize efficiency" means make fewer people do the same amount of work (or more). Of course, cost-cutting is a survival strategy, and T-Mobile is in full survival mode. The company has only 8.4 million prepaid wireless subscribers, compared to about 100 million each for market leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T and about 15 million for No. 3 Sprint. And without Apple's iPhone -- which its three larger competitors sell -- T-Mobile's already poor prospects in the U.S. wireless market will only worsen. Which Deutsche Telekom knew last year when it accepted a $39 billion offer from AT&T to buy T-Mobile USA. But staunch opposition from federal antitrust regulators killed the deal, leaving T-Mobile with dismal prospects, despite Humm's brave talk Friday about upgrading the company's network "to get the business back to growth." T-Mobile says the "consolidation effort will result in 1,900 net job reductions" because it will hire as many as 1,400 workers at the 17 remaining call centers and is inviting some of the 3,300 employees from the call centers scheduled to close in June to transfer to another facility. It also sounds as though more layoffs could be coming later this year. T-Mobile said Friday it "will restructure and optimize operations in other parts of the business" by the end of Q2, creating yet more awesome "efficiencies." Curb your excitement, T-Mobile employees.

Chris Nerney writes ITworld's Tech Business Today blog. Follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisNerney. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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