The company that promised to add jobs by merging with Sprint now appears to be laying off hundreds of employees.
TechCrunch reported on Tuesday that T-Mobile VP James Kirby told hundreds of Sprint employees their services are no longer needed. TechCrunch obtained leaked audio of a call, which was said to be one of several that were conducted on Monday. The notifications come more than two months after the merger closed on April 1.
T-Mobile did not immediately respond to a request for comment or explain how it’s going to honor commitments made prior to the merger that the combined entity would result in more jobs, not fewer. Mergers typically lead to the elimination of redundant positions and in the case of wireless, redundant stores are closed as well.
Update: Here's part of T-Mobile's statement issued after multiple news articles about the layoffs. "We have kicked off an ambitious hiring initiative to add 5,000 new positions over the next year – in multiple departments across the company, primarily mapping to areas of growth and focused on serving customers such as Retail, Care, T-Mobile for Business, Engineering and network organizations.”
“At the same time, we are looking at our entire merged organization to ensure that we focus our resources in the places where our customers need us the most,” T-Mobile's statement said. “This will result in additional career opportunities for many, as the company positions itself for long-term healthy growth. As part of this process, 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. We will work with all employees and support them.”
Among those affected by layoffs are Sprint’s inside sales unit that focuses on small businesses across the country, according to the TechCrunch report, which noted that some impacted employees may be eligible to apply for new positions. Employees who were laid off on Monday will work another two months until August 13; the WARN Act requires employers give two months notice in advance of massive layoffs.
Notifications continued on Tuesday, according to posts on TheLayoff.com, which indicated indirect sales managers and national account executives were among those affected. One of the anonymous comments referred to what they heard was a “bloodbath,” with business sales regions gutted. That followed earlier posts about director level cuts.
Jeff Moore, principal at Wave7 Research, which tracks the prepaid and postpaid retail markets, said the layoffs follow the historical pattern for such events. Traditionally, it starts with senior most executives, such as the CFO or CMO level, then it moves to vice president and director level before it hits the worker bee level, which is where it’s at now. “This reorganization is no different from all the rest,” said Moore, who lived through at least a dozen reorganizations when he worked for Sprint.
Former T-Mobile CEO John Legere promised the new T-Mobile will employ more than 7,500 care professionals by 2024 than the standalone companies would have. Of course, that’s a few years away and those were tied to new customer service center expansions. At the time, Legere said the new combined entity will create jobs “from Day One,” which if taken literally, would be when the two brands unite on August 2, according to a Reddit thread. “Day Zero” occurred on April 1, when the merger officially closed.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that layoffs were happening at Metro by T-Mobile, the prepaid brand, prompting the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union to issue a statement reminding everyone that one of the big reasons it opposed the merger was the loss of jobs. A CWA analysis in 2018 found the merger would result in the loss of up to 30,000 jobs.
Article updated with statement from T-Mobile.