Right On Cue, Post-Merger T-Mobile Layoffs Begin

from the round-and-round-we-go dept

US courts and regulators recently rubber stamped the T-Mobile Sprint merger, ignoring forty years of history showing how US telecom megamergers almost always result in less competition, higher prices, and fewer jobs. Eliminating one of just four US wireless carriers is likely to result in higher prices (see: Canada or Ireland). Wall Street analysts and unions alike predict the deal could eliminate anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs, and data suggests the consolidation could result in employees across the sector making less money even if they work at other companies.

Like most mergers, T-Mobile and Sprint executives have spent a year telling people none of this will actually happen and critics were being hyperbolic. Executives like John Legere (whose leaving in April and thus won't have to bear witness to his own handiwork) insisted repeatedly that the competition-eroding deal would somehow increase competition and create thousands of new, high paying jobs. Real world analysis from numerous experts never supported that, and early returns on those promises aren't looking so hot.

Light Reading late last week reported that with the ink not even dry on the merger, the company was already starting to trim jobs at one of its prepaid phone divisions, Metro:

"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.

T-Mobile did not respond to repeated requests from me for comment on the nature of the layoffs. Neither would the company respond to inquiries made by other outlets like Ars Technica or Fierce Wireless. That suggests to me these layoffs were indeed merger related, since T-Mobile could have simply stated that the departures were scheduled pre-merger, assuming that was true.

Peter Adderton, founder of prepaid wireless provider Boost Mobile, was backing the deal just a few months ago. His tone has now completely shifted, and he noted that a lot of these laid off employees were informed of the layoffs during an impersonal conference call:

Like most US telecom mergers, around 4% of the journalists that uncritically hyped this merger's "synergies" will go back in a few years and scrutinize the company's pre-merger promises. And all of the think tankers and analysts that rubber stamped the deal uncritically will go mute in a few years when the price hikes and additional retail and middle management layoffs arrive, pretending they had some other, mysterious origins. This is, apparently, just how we do things in America, a country that seems habitually incapable of learning much of anything from history or experience.

Filed Under: competition, jobs, layoffs, mergers
Companies: sprint, t-mobile

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  1. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Mar 2020 @ 3:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Because, you know, Capitalism!!!"

    Which has always confused me. Capitalism needs, as absolute necessity, a level playing field in order to work. Otherwise the concept of "competition" and "consumer choice" go right out the window.

    And the US, for some time now, has had a marketplace which would have Adam Smith warding it off with a crucifix while backing away slowly.

    Frankly speaking, China - ostensibly a "socialist" "republic"...'scuse me for laughing... - does way better in being a land of market opportunity and self-made men. Assemble the wealthiest chinese in a room and toss a rock, half of the time you hit someone who started out fighting other kids in the gutter for scraps to eat.

    The US no longer boasts that claim much. The 1% almost invariably come from established clans and networks. Competition has become that ugly word the US market fears so much that most lobby groups are centered entirely around ways to ensure it can be avoided.

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