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T-Mobile USA to Cut 1,900 Call-Center Jobs, Close 7 Offices

T-Mobile network on RIM phones. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
T-Mobile network on RIM phones. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

March 22 (Bloomberg) -- T-Mobile USA Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest wireless service provider, will eliminate 1,900 jobs as it reduces the number of call centers to 17 from 24.

T-Mobile has 3,300 employees at the seven call centers scheduled to be closed. The Bellevue, Washington-based company will invite employees from those locations to transfer to some of the 17 other offices, where 1,400 positions are being added, according to a statement. The company has 36,000 U.S. employees.

T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, was a target of a takeover bid by AT&T Inc. that failed to win regulatory approval. T-Mobile USA is now paring costs while increasing spending on network expansion to compete with larger rivals such as its former suitor and Verizon Wireless. The company will also “restructure and optimize” other parts of the business, according to the statement.

“These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth,” Chief Executive Officer Philipp Humm said in the statement.

By the end of June, the carrier will close centers in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frisco and Brownsville, Texas; Lenexa, Kansas; Thornton, Colorado; and Redmond, Oregon.

The job cuts won’t affect sales staff at company-owned stores or reduce any technician or engineering jobs, David Henderson, a T-Mobile spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

In a similar move, Verizon Wireless this month said it will close three call centers in Southfield, Michigan; Bellevue, Washington; and Houston, and relocate employees to make better use of existing facilities.

In February, T-Mobile USA said it planned to spend a total of $4 billion in the two years through 2013 on network upgrades funded out of the unit’s cash flow. The move, which still leaves T-Mobile two years behind larger rivals Verizon and AT&T in so-called long-term-evolution, will let the carrier offer higher-speed service as demand for smartphones and tablets increases.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Moritz in New York at smoritz6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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