AT&T Slams Feds Using T-Mobile Layoffs


Share this Post

In a statement from Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior EVP of External and Legislative Affairs, posted on AT&T’s policy blog this morning, the company slams the FCC by seemingly mocking T-mobile, who is in the process of laying off 1900 call center employees. AT&T asserts that they would've kept the call centers in business, if the FCC would've listened to them. Essentially, Cicconi's statement blames the FCC for T-Mobile closing up some of its shop.

Below is Cicconi's blog post:

“Yesterday, T-Mobile made the sad announcement that it would be closing seven call centers, laying off thousands of workers, and that more layoff announcements may follow. Normally, we’d not comment on something like this. But I feel this is an exception for one big reason– only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved. We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs.

“At that time, the current FCC not only rejected our pledges and predictions, they also questioned our credibility. The FCC argued that the merger would cost jobs, not preserve them, and that rejecting it would save jobs. In short, the FCC said they were right, we were wrong, and did so in an aggressive and adamant way.

“Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast. But for the government’s decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security. Only a few months later, the truth of who was right is sadly obvious.

“So what’s the lesson here? For one thing, it’s a reminder of why “regulatory humility” should be more than a slogan. The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient. And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong. The other lesson is even more important, and should be sobering. It is a reminder that in government, as in life, decisions have consequences. One must approach them not as an exercise of power but instead of responsibility, because, as I learned in my years of public service, the price of a bad decision is too often paid by someone else.”

AT&T, apparently still miffed over the fact that its old plans for a merger with T-Mobile are long-dead, has basically pointed out the obvious - that T-Mobile is a struggling company.

Very recently, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against AT&T for overcharging disabled people on their phone bills, by violating certain FCC rules. Naturally, AT&T denied any wrongdoing, and released the following statement on the matter:

AT&T has followed the FCC’s rules for providing IP Relay services for disabled customers and for seeking reimbursement for those services. As the FCC is aware, it is always possible for an individual to misuse IP Relay services, just as someone can misuse the postal system or an email account, but FCC rules require that we complete all calls by customers who identify themselves as disabled.

I wonder if I should contact the FCC the next time i receive a confusing Family Plan bill from AT&T.