AT&T defends job-creation claims, says ‘spillover’ from merger will help economy

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In the filing submitted Monday evening, AT&T committed to not cut any U.S. call center jobs if the merger is approved and pledged to bring 5,000 call center jobs back to the U.S. from other countries.

AT&T promised to extend a job offer to all "non-management" T-Mobile employees. "T-Mobile non-management employees whose job functions are no longer required because of the merger will be offered another position in the combined company," AT&T wrote.

The most significant job creation, however, will come from the economic "spillover effects" that will result from AT&T's investment in its high-speed wireless network, the company said.

AT&T has promised to expand LTE technology to 97 percent of the population if the merger is approved. That investment will create "thousands of jobs" according to the filing.

AT&T cited statements from President Obama, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Lawrence Summers, the former head of the National Economic Council, saying that wireless broadband investments can boost the economy.

The company also argued that T-Mobile is a struggling company that might need to purge jobs soon if it is not allowed to merge with AT&T.

T-Mobile has lost thousands of customers in recent years, and its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, is focusing its investments on its European businesses, according to the filing.

"In light of these challenges, there can be no assurances that T-Mobile would be able to maintain its current staffing levels in the future as a stand-alone company," AT&T wrote. 

The filing did not refer to AT&T's previous estimate that the merger would create "as many as 96,000 jobs." The company has cited that figure in previous FCC filings and in advertisements supporting the merger.

Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group that opposes the deal, slammed AT&T for not providing enough details about the merger's impact on jobs.

"The company is spending millions of dollars on TV ads claiming that its takeover of T-Mobile will create 96,000 jobs, but it can’t be bothered to tell the public how those jobs will be created," Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. 

She also criticized AT&T for redacting portions of the public version of its filing, accusing AT&T of hiding important information behind a "veil of secrecy." AT&T says it only redacted confidential company data.

The FCC is currently reviewing the merger to determine if it is in the public's interest. The Justice Department has already filed suit, arguing that the $39 billion deal would violate antitrust law by stifling competition in the wireless market. That case is set to go to trial in February.

The deal would make AT&T the nation's largest wireless carrier and reduce the number of national wireless companies from four to three.

—This post was updated at 1:00 p.m.

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