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AT&T swings the ax

Slumping consumer spending leads to more belt-tightening in techland as AT&T (T) says it will cut about 4,650 employees as part of a “streamlining” effort.

The San Antonio, Texas-based phone giant says the cuts will amount to about 1.5% of its 310,000 staff and largely involve regional managers. The move comes amid a steep decline in local phone lines as customers cancel service. The shrinking trend in Ma Bell’s core business also comes during an economic slowdown and signs that consumers are becoming more tight-fisted.

Competition has also intensified in the past year as cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) sell more phone services as part of a video and Internet bundle. AT&T has been slow and somewhat stymied in its efforts to roll out a competing video service to more markets.

AT&T says it will take a $374 million charge in the first quarter. The company is on deck to report its first-quarter results Tuesday.