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4G/3G/WiFi

T-Mobile conducts layoffs in prepaid business

According to three people familiar with the company, T-Mobile has laid off a number of employees within its Metro by T-Mobile prepaid business.

The extent of the layoffs is unclear. The company couldn't immediately provide a response to questions from Light Reading on the topic.

The development comes at a noteworthy time for the operator. T-Mobile is in the final stages of completing its long-gestating merger with Sprint, having obtained approvals from the FCC and the Department of Justice in 2019, and, more recently, sidestepping a lawsuit against the merger filed by 14 Democratic state attorneys general.

Separately, T-Mobile and Sprint last week renegotiated the financial terms of their merger agreement to give T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom a slightly larger percentage of ownership in the combined company.

But in urging lawmakers and regulators to approve their proposed union, executives from Sprint and T-Mobile promised not to reduce the number of workers they collectively employ. However, they did leave the door open to restructuring the company in order to remove duplicate positions, among other actions.

Further, this isn't the first time that T-Mobile has shaken up its Metro by T-Mobile prepaid business. The company last year announced that its longtime prepaid chief Tom Keys would relinquish leadership of Metro by T-Mobile to T-Mobile retail chief Jon Freier and CMO Matt Staneff. Light Reading reported last year that Keys acknowledged at the time that the business had been suffering, but he said the restructuring effort could rekindle growth within the prepaid business.

T-Mobile acquired the prepaid operation through its purchase of MetroPCS in 2012, and renamed the operation Metro by T-Mobile in 2018. When it renamed the business, T-Mobile disclosed that Metro by T-Mobile counted fully 18 million customers with 10,000 branded retail locations covering a total of 323 million potential customers.

Importantly, Metro by T-Mobile is scheduled to remain with the combined T-Mobile and Sprint if their merger does indeed close, as many expect it will. Sprint's prepaid operations, however, are to be moved to Dish Network following the close of the companies' merger. As part of the DOJ's approval of the Sprint and T-Mobile merger, Dish has promised to enter the US wireless market via the acquisition of around 10 million Sprint prepaid customers, managing them first as an MVNO of T-Mobile and later as a 5G wireless network operator.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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