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T-Mobile tries to back out of promise to create 1,000 California jobs

June 23, 2020, 10:30 PM UTC

Two and a half months into the life of the “new” T-Mobile, the self-proclaimed maverick mobile-phone carrier is already asking to roll back commitments it made in exchange for approval to buy its smaller rival Sprint.

T-Mobile — now the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier because of the April 1 merger — is asking California’s Public Utilities Commission for a waiver of job mandates and network-speed milestones.

While T-Mobile promised to create 1,000 full-time jobs in California, T-Mobile said Tuesday that the state can’t dictate hiring. The Covid-19 crisis “makes the imposition of a mandate to create additional jobs infeasible and unwarranted,” it said in a filing with the commission.

And instead of delivering wireless-connection speeds of 300 megabits per second to 93% of the state in four years, the company said that the documents should have said six years.

“We appreciate the willingness of the commission’s staff and the commissioners to work with us to resolve our outstanding concerns and clarifications,” T-Mobile said in a statement.

Lone Holdout

As the lone holdout among the states, California had granted conditional approval only in mid-April, two weeks after the merger.

The enlarged T-Mobile is off to a rocky start. Last week, as many as 68 million customers were hit with a daylong service outage, which drew a federal investigation. That same week, it pulled the plug on its T-Mobile TV venture, writing down $218 million in costs.

T-Mobile also recently started shuffling its retail stores. Thousands of Metro and Sprint store employees are being displaced as they face the prospect of searching for different jobs at T-Mobile or leaving the company.

That’s a different picture than the one then-CEO John Legere presented when he announced the merger two years ago, touting the pact’s job-growth potential.

“We will be adding thousands of new jobs early on, and I can easily envision this leading to tens of thousands over time,” he said. Legere left his job in April.