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AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

2:35 PM -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) felt it had no choice but to chime in about T-Mobile US Inc. 's "sad announcement" that it's closing seven call centers and laying off 1,900 workers.

But, the humble carrier wasn't offering those laid-off employees a job. No, it was giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) a big "told ya so" taunt and lecturing them on what happens when you deny it a merger.

Jim Cicconi, AT&T senior EVP of external and legislative affairs, wrote in AT&T's public policy blog:

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.


He then goes on to call out the FCC for being aggressive and adamant in its claims that the merger would actually cost jobs. The rest of his post is so shockingly over-the-top that it warrants posting the entire thing here.

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.


Just to be clear, the AT&T/T-Mobile merger is dead. There's no revisiting or reviving it. T-Mobile has moved on, but why AT&T can't seem to is beyond me. Putting aside the (big) facts that the merger would have, in fact, cost a lot of jobs at T-Mobile and that nothing is stopping AT&T from bringing call center jobs back to the U.S. even without the acquisition, lecturing and demeaning the FCC doesn't seem like the best strategy to improve future relations.

In fact, I'm not sure what the strategy here is at all.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:38:25 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

 


How friendly being acquired by SWBT is...oh wait they are AT&T now... :)


 


seven


 

gwchoi 12/5/2012 | 5:38:23 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

 

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"the price of a bad decision is too often paid by someone else."


&nbsp;A fact that AT&amp;T continues to remind me of every time I attempt to do anything on my iPhone in the Bay Area.

</div>

&nbsp;

gwchoi 12/5/2012 | 5:38:23 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

"If I thought I were on the receiving end of an erroneous FCC policy that cost me $3 billion and led to the loss of 2k jobs, I probably wouldn't be interested in improving relations with this Commission any time soon, either."


AT&amp;T had to have contemplated that this would be a coin-flip from an anti-trust standpoint, and they therefore must have factored that in when they did their related financial analyses. &nbsp;If they [appear to be] pissed, I suspect it's mostly driven by positioning/marketing. &nbsp;Note that they subtly managed to say (under the cloak of an FCC rant) "T-Mobile may not be viable so think twice before you sign a 2-year contract with them, and they're meanies for laying people [email protected]"&nbsp;


Also, as Sarah points out, I don't think it's clear whether the merger would have resulted in fewer jobs lost. &nbsp;

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:38:23 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

If I thought I were on the receiving end of an erroneous FCC policy that cost me $3 billion and led to the loss of 2k jobs, I probably wouldn't be interested in improving relations with this Commission any time soon, either. "Show me a good loser...," as Coach Lombardi said.

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 5:38:21 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC ATT.is like a small government and naturally feels it is entitled to special consideration. I used to like them so much better when they were Cingular, at least then they knew they were a third rate carrier and when you complained to them about coverage they actually did something about it.
jayja 12/5/2012 | 5:38:20 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

...&nbsp; none of these people would have been laid off if AT&amp;T bought T-Mobile.


... this merger will improve competition and benefit the consumer.


.....the check's in the mail.


......this bridge is for sale.

moon_shot 12/5/2012 | 5:38:18 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

..or ask the BellSouth guys about SBC's/ATT's acquistion playbook as relates to layoffs, rightsizing, strategic alignment, etc.

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:38:17 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC



Does AT&amp;T have to worry about future relations?&nbsp; A change in the POTUS results in a change at the FCC and other agencies as well.&nbsp; If LS still has money, who do you think they will be contributing to this year? &nbsp;T-Mobile too as well.




Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:38:13 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

Well said, indeed. I chortled when I read the article--I guess the ATT PR people are in overdrive, but frankly I can't remember a merger that did not result in layoffs. Hey, but who knows, mayne ATT really thinks a merger would have prevented layoffs at T-mobile.


&nbsp;


&nbsp;

hbatikhan 12/5/2012 | 5:38:10 PM
re: AT&T Won't Lay Off the FCC

It would&nbsp;result in&nbsp;more lay-offs in mid to long term if the merger did actually take place since it would create a lot of "redundancies" from&nbsp;the very first day as we know it&nbsp;very well from other mergers. This statement merely shows&nbsp;its&nbsp;denial&nbsp;still persists in AT&amp;T after the deal's spectacular collapse.&nbsp;&nbsp;

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