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Was T-Mobile California dreamin'?

Thousands of new American jobs. Remember that? This was one of the carrots that T-Mobile dangled in front of regulators and antitrust authorities so it could push ahead with its merger with Sprint. Of late, now that the merger is in the bag, these promises are wearing thin.

According to Bloomberg, T-Mobile is trying to wriggle out of a pledge to create 1,000 full-time new jobs in California. As far as Light Reading can tell, this relates to a T-Mobile commitment, made over a year ago, to set up a "Customer Experience Center" in California's Central Valley.

T-Mobile, in a filing with the state's Public Utilities Commission – as reported by Bloomberg – seemed to pin the blame on COVID-19. The pandemic, said the operator, "makes the imposition of a mandate to create additional jobs infeasible and unwarranted."

In addition, T-Mobile pushed back its aim, from four years to six years, of delivering average downlink speeds of 300 Mbit/s to 93% of the state.

Last week, T-Mobile maintained it was kickstarting a one-year initiative to add 5,000 new positions, although the statement included some fuzzy words about "workforce evolution," which came against a backdrop of media reports that "hundreds of Sprint employees" were being shown the door.

For its part, T-Mobile seemed to admit that some old jobs will be lost. "As part of [the merger] process," it said, "some employees who hold similar positions are being asked to consider a career change inside the company, and others will be supported in their efforts to find a new position outside the company."

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents some 700,000 workers in the US, is far from convinced that "New T-Mobile" is a job-creation scheme. In February, CWA reckoned the merger will result in the loss of up to 30,000 jobs.

"T-Mobile is so eager to pad its executives' bank accounts that they couldn't even wait until the merger has gone through to start firing people," said a less-than-impressed Chris Shelton, CWA's president.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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