While AT&T, FCC behave like petulant schoolchildren, 1900 people suffer job losses

While AT&T, FCC behave like petulant schoolchildren, 1900 people suffer job losses

Summary: Behemoths of bureaucratic bombasity bloviate at each other on the battlefield of bile.


You've got to love ginormous, impenetrable bureaucracies. Well, actually, I guess you don't. We all -- in one way or another -- suffer at the hands of vast government agencies and "too big to fail" corporations. And so, when these behemoths of bureaucratic bombasity bloviate at each other on the battlefield of bile, it's worth a small amount of our attention.

At issue is/was AT&T's desire to consume T-Mobile's customers, operations, and employees like just so much plankton. In public, T-Mobile and AT&T represented the potential merger as a marriage made in heaven.

See also: T-Mobile VP sounds off on Carrier IQ, AT&T, BlackBerry, iPhone, and eGov (exclusive interview)

And yet, it was not to be. The merger never went through.

On Thursday, ZDNet reported T-Mobile is planning to cut 1900 jobs. This was not fully unexpected, as failed mergers never play out particularly smoothly.

What was somewhat unexpected was the gloating from a senior AT&T executive, essentially an "I told you so," aimed at the Federal Communications Commission, which blocked the merger.

ZDNet's Rachel King reports on the tirade coming from Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president of External and Legislative Affairs, stating "Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast."

Oh, snap!

Now, AllThingsD's Ina Fried reports that the FCC has responded to AT&Ts response to T-Mobile's layoffs. First, the good news, according to the FCC: "In a short period of time, T-Mobile has re-emerged as a vibrant competitor in the mobile marketplace."

Now, the bad news (read as, it would have happened anyway, so there!): "...the company’s own confidential documents showed that the merger would have resulted in significant job losses."

Take that, AT&T! Booyah!

So what should we take from this ill-considered public airing of dirty laundry between AT&T and FCC? Sadly, 1900 people are still going to lose their jobs. In the end, that's all that really matters, isn't it?


Update: My colleague Wayne Rash says the aggregate job loss is 500, not 1900. The behavior of these two behemoths still is uncool, regardless of whether there is 3-digit or 4-digit job loss.

Topics: Government US, CXO, Government, IT Employment, AT&T


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Well AFTER the merger how many jobs would have been lost?

    Likely 1900 as duplicate positions are eliminated. It happens after every merger I've ever heard about and or lived through.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • And...

      ...it's almost always employees of the target company that are laid off, as the new parent seeks to insure the dominance of its own corporate culture.
      John L. Ries
  • You're stuck

    700,000 people decided last quarter to switch away from T-Mobile and go to another carrier. The government should crack down on those people and charge them extra taxes, because they are the ones who caused these job losses.

    Those people are greedy and they got these workers fired just so they could have better phone service. They might as well have done it for profit!
    Robert Hahn
    • Heck yeah

      We should always charge the consumer for making a choice on where to spend their money. /sarcasm
      Michael Alan Goff
      • how else can they profit?

        investors wouldn't have it any other way.
      • @Sasori7

        By investing in a business that makes money, that's how.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • Say what????

      Those people left T-mobile because they refused to be an ATT consumer. I know many who have left ATT, including me, because they are the worst.

      If anything, ATT should reimburse T-Mobile for the losses. Unfortunate that many will lose their jobs because of this fiasco.
      linux for me
      • Opinions differ

        None of the carriers are great, they all have problems and experiences differ.
        For me Verizon has been the worst, for others someone else.
      • Then you're a bit of a fool

        "Those people left T-mobile because they refused to be an ATT consumer."

        You left because of a merger that was being fought at the FCC before it got given a thumbs up and that's AT&T's fault how?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Read English much?

        @Michael Alan Goff

        " I know many who have left ATT, including me, because they are the worst."

        Nothing in that statement said ANYTHING about leaving because of a merger, but because ATT is the worst.
        linux for me
  • Like alliteration much?

    <i>behemoths of bureaucratic bombasity bloviate at each other on the battlefield of bile,</i>

    Its quite a mouthful
  • Job Losses

    Why even a story. Bottom line is that 1900 people were going to lose their job either way. My bet is even more, if the merger happened. AT&T doesnt need two sets of billing, two sets of repair personnel, two sets of sales staff, etc and the list goes on. Killing the merger saved more jobs than it cost and keeps prices lower than post-merger. The FCC needs to spend more time making carriers "carrier" (wholesale providers of spectrum). Separate the carrier and content providers. Make all phones sold in the US work on all carriers, Universal SIMS, prohibit contract subsidies and lock-ins past 12 months. Create real competition. There is enough spectrum, its just not in the right hands. Every carrier wants to hoard it, therefore there is plenty, just not on the right carrier, in the right places. Making them all wholesalers insures enough spectrum, in the right place for all carriers.
  • Today's letter: B

    seriously, did your thesaurus get stuck on the letter 'B' for the summary?
  • No

    The billions of cellular telephone and data users didn't need further consolidation of an already too monopolistic and plutocratic industry. That's all that really matters.
  • The author is an idiot!

    As an AT&T customer I can tell you they can't even handle what they have. They don't deserve anymore.
  • sales, support, Billing

    Those were the jobs that were cut. Those are also the departments which would have been utterly wiped out in a merger.

    People did jump ship when the merger was announced. Under Bush and the first two years of Obama, all of AT&T's mergers and acquisitions were rapidly rubber stamped. They were premature, but not fools. AT&T clearly believed it was a done deal, or they wouldn't have set a record high back out penalty.
  • And yet, it was not to be. The merger never went through.

    It???s the difficulty of obtaining the certification in the first place. The certification has a ???chicken and egg??? logic to it: To earn it, you need to be managing projects??? but it can be hard to get project management work without the cert.
    As a result, the talent pool is artificially small, and many otherwise well-qualified candidates get filtered out.