Both AT&T and T-Mobile seem to be stuck in hindsight, absent of forward thinking, in the post-merger breakup era. AT&T continues to slam regulators in a gotcha blitz of media rhetoric, reminding the FCC had the deal gone through the recently announced lay-offs by T-Mobile would have never occurred. It’s almost like both are determined to make those dire predictions come true whether warranted, or not.
Questionable Forward Thinking
Announced with a questionable absence of forward thinking, T-Mobile intends to lay off 1,900 employees closing seven of its call centers. In hindsight, was this a lack of forward thinking by T-Mobile? It seems evident that if the 4th largest mobile provider had looked at other options other than a horizontal merger with the #2 market leader, it might be looking at less of a slash and burn strategy going forward. But that is hindsight, and is never an easy or optimum way to learn from mistakes. It is also somewhat puzzling since T-Mobile benefited from a $4 Billion breakup fee, yet quickly announces job cuts.
We have tremendous customer service representatives who are highly-skilled and dedicated to serving our customers. We hope as many as possible pursue transfers and stay with T-Mobile. See (T-Mobile to Streamline Customer Service Operations from 24 to 17 Facilities Nationwide)
In partnering with AT&T, while looking to cure it’s ills in being a smaller competitor, T-Mobile gambled its future on AT&T’s over confidence that the merger would be approved by regulators. Maybe this has more to do with Dutche Telecom not having a clear understanding of the U.S. regulatory environment which can change abruptly with an administration looking for more competition and less market consolidation. It also underestimated a new technology competitive marketplace and the rough and tumble business strategies which must be present to succeed.
There again, it boils down to forward thinking for long-term success, not short-term fixes. But make no mistake about the outcome of an AT&T prediction of a (no a layoff scenario) had the deal been consummated, larger job cuts, as duplicate functions were eliminated, were eminent and clearly non-union.
T-Mobile claims a focus on upgrades to LTE as the reason for cost cutting measures, yet what kind of signal does this send to employees, and potential investors? How many good employees not being laid off will jump ship in what they believe are greener pastures? The message conveyed is a bad one, taking into consideration the potential peripheral damage to market confidence.
The LTE issue should have been addressed much earlier with foresight into market dynamics created by the infamous iPhone. Now would be the time to use the breakup fee from AT&T for upgrades, minus the job cuts. It is ironic how many service providers where caught unaware of the iPhone’s technology implications from the first launch, including AT&T.
Taking FCC to Wood-Shed
AT&T continues to harass the FCC in an attempt to engorge public sentiment in its favor regarding the failed merger with T-Mobile. A “I told you so” strategy, as in T-Mobile’s lay-offs, is more hindsight backlash and rhetoric rather than forward thinking on how each company should move forward to rectify spectrum, backhaul upgrades, and LTE roll-out, therefore meeting consumer needs and competition head-on.
So what’s the lesson here? For one thing, it’s a reminder of why “regulatory humility” should be more than a slogan. See (AT&T Statement on T-Mobile Closing Seven Call Centers)
Competition benefits all wireless consumers. The bottom line is that AT&T’s proposal to acquire a major competitor was unprecedented in scope and the company’s own confidential documents showed that the merger would have resulted in significant job losses. See (FCC Fires Back at AT&T Over T-Mobile Job Cuts)
It is imperative that each company take a step back and re-evaluate both short-term and long-term goals and how forward thinking, not hindsight, can dictate a positive vision needed for success. T-Mobile needs a partner to help gain market share, which is evident and an immediate need. Network upgrades for AT&T and T-Mobile both are a must, along with an LTE launch, in keeping pace with device and consequent demands on the network. Strategically, each company has to set independent courses mapping out realistic goals and objectives. Each should grow up and stop acting like school-yard adolescents, and include forward-thinking, instead of dwelling on hindsight that does not serve either company well.