AT&T desperately wants this T-Mobile merger to go through. Yesterday, the wireless carrier said it would bring 5,000 jobs it outsourced back to the U.S. if regulators let its $39 billion deal go through. Most of these jobs are low-paying wireless call center positions. The company also promised not to cut any more wireless call center positions, but only if the deal goes through.
Assuming a call center employee makes about $15 an hour and works a full 40-hour week, we’re looking at about $30,000 per employee, which means about $150 million in cost to hire 5,000 call center employees in the U.S. Keep in mind that AT&T is already paying something for those employees overseas, so the actual cost is lower. In any case, $150 million is nothing compared to the $3-6 billion AT&T will have to pay out to T-Mobile if the merger isn’t approved, reports the WSJ.
While 5,000 jobs coming to the United States is definitely a good thing, it’s small change compared to the potential impacts of the AT&T-Mobile merger, in the long run. Less competition in the wireless space can only mean slowed innovation and higher prices.
AT&T has been pulling out all the stops for this merger. In the last few months, it has begun choking users of unlimited data plans and suing a group of its own customers, all in the name of buying T-Mobile.
Almost every announcement AT&T has made in the last few months seems to involve needless choking of data or price hikes. Does the carrier wants to scare us? Is that why it recently doubled the minimum price of a texting plan? Publicly, it blames issues on the “spectrum crunch.” Even the tone of its press releases seems to indicate that if we don’t let it buy T-Mobile, bad things will happen. A recently released document shows that AT&T will refuse to build out its LTE network into many rural areas unless the T-Mobile deal goes through.
What do you think of AT&T’s plan to bring 5,000 jobs back to the U.S.? Does it help justify the merger?