updated 08:45 pm EDT, Fri March 23, 2012
FCC says ATT misleading on job statements
The FCC in one of its gradually more common responses shot back at AT&T's linking T-Mobile job cuts to the failed merger. A spokesperson claimed to AllThingsD that AT&T was being disingenuous given its own statements to the FCC on jobs. Despite public claims to creating jobs, AT&T's "own confidential documents" had indicated that it was likely to incur "significant job losses" if the merger was completed, the FCC said.
A less certain assertion declared that T-Mobile had "re-emerged as a vibrant competitor" in mobile. T-Mobile lost significant customer volumes in the fall owing to the lack of an iPhone, although it's currently refarming spectrum that will give it iPhone support. It may be helped by the added spectrum and $4 billion in payments AT&T made in compensation for exiting the merger.
While the exact details of what had led the FCC to object weren't public, AT&T had dropped hints during the merger verification process that job cuts might be necessary regardless. By definition, the merger would have created significant overlap for jobs in retail, management, engineering, and other areas where the larger network didn't demand more staff.
Historically, most large mergers have led to job cuts, not the creation AT&T had promised in public. Some of its argument had been predicated on the view that T-Mobile was no longer an effective competitor and was going to fail with or without AT&T's help, although some have accused T-Mobile of putting competitive plans on hold to appear a better merger candidate.