Shocker: The great 5G merger between T-Mobile and Sprint is leading to huge job losses

March 2, 2021 0 By boss

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We’re only a month away from the one-year anniversary of the biggest merger in the history of the US wireless industry, and while there’s been plenty of discussion since April 2020 on the 5G advancements enabled by pooling T-Mobile and Sprint’s resources together, another important thing deriving from the combination of the nation’s number three and four carriers hasn’t made a lot of headlines.

We’re talking about the transaction’s impact on the joint workforce of the two veteran mobile network operators, which many experts and labor unions voiced their concern on starting very early in the formal merger approval process. Basically, the fear was a great deal of “redundant” employees would be laid off as the “integration” between T-Mobile and Sprint moved forward, creating a leaner and meaner money-making machine for owner Deutsche Telekom.
Of course, said parent company insisted at every turn its intentions were to add jobs stateside rather than fire people, but just like 10 months ago, it doesn’t appear those theoretical promises are being put into practice.

Roughly 5,000 jobs lost… and counting?

That seemingly includes both full-time employees (70,807 of them, to be exact) and part-timers, the latter of which is a rarely detailed group that made it hard to get a complete picture of the situation until last week. In case you’re wondering, the combined total of the two carriers’ workforce stood at around 80,500 people at the end of 2018, according to similar SEC docs.

A T-Mo spokesperson then confirmed the number went largely unchanged until shortly after the April 1, 2020 completion of the mega merger estimated at around $26 billion, which means five thousand people (give or take) have likely lost their main source of income at some point in the nine months leading up to the end of the year.

Those are net job losses, mind you, which means the actual number of people who got their pink slips from the magenta-colored wireless service provider at the height of the coronavirus pandemic may well be larger. After all, the “Un-carrier” probably hired a few people at some point in 2020 too, especially given its remarkable network expansion efforts.
The worst might not be behind the “New T-Mobile’s” workforce either, as Sprint’s shutdown operation is far from over. There’s a very good chance more jobs will be lost down the line, although there’s also hope to see the 75,000 tally grow again.

With great ambition comes great need for extra manpower

It’s no big secret that T-Mobile has its sights set on exceeding Verizon’s customer numbers after already beating AT&T. At the same time, Magenta plans to further accelerate its mid-band 5G deployments and expansions across the country this year to fend off Big Red’s efforts of catching up with the help of newly acquired spectrum.
Additionally, the fast-growing operator is reportedly looking to vastly improve its retail footprint in the near future. Given that AT&T and Verizon are estimated to be employing roughly 230,000 and 130,000 people respectively, it seems unlikely that T-Mo will ever be able to meet its bold objectives with the current workforce, let alone an even lower number of full and part-time employees at the end of 2021 and beyond.

Circling back to 2019, then-CEO John Legere promised his company would end up having “more than 11,000 additional employees” on its payroll by 2024 compared to what T-Mobile and Sprint would separately have in total. While things are certainly not going in the right direction at the moment, there’s still plenty of time for Mike Sievert to make that happen. 

Unfortunately, even if that goal does pan out, many of the T-Mo workers who lost their jobs in 2020 are unlikely to find their way back onto the Magenta payroll. As one analyst so eloquently put it when the merger was still far from finished, “you don’t need two core network managers.” 

Or two nearby retail stores, if we may add, which explains why T-Mobile had already closed 16 percent of all of Sprint’s nationwide physical locations and 6 percent of its own brick and mortar stores by July, a number that’s likely to have grown since then to wipe out thousands of jobs to begin with.

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