AT&T Inc. is pledging to bring 5,000 wireless call center jobs, currently based abroad, back to the U.S. if it is allowed to proceed with its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
The company is also promising that the merger would not result in any job losses for AT&T and T-Mobile USA wireless call center employees who are on the payroll in the U.S. when the deal closes.
AT&T's commitment to repatriate jobs comes as antitrust regulators at the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department ramp up their reviews of a combination that is certain to reshape the wireless industry's landscape.
AT&T, the nation's second-largest wireless carrier, is seeking government approval to buy T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest, from Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG. The cash-and-stock transaction would catapult AT&T past Verizon Wireless to become the nation's largest wireless provider, and leave Sprint Nextel Corp. as a distant number three.
Although AT&T said it has not yet determined where the new U.S.-based jobs would be located, it promised they would offer "highly competitive wages and benefits." The company hopes this message will carry weight in Washington, where job creation is a top priority for the Obama administration as the nation faces the possibility of a recession heading into the 2012 election.