T-Mobile Confesses: Not Having The iPhone Caused 1,900 Layoffs

T-Mobile said Friday it will cut 1,900 call centre jobs in an effort to save money. In a memo to employees, CEO Philip Humm explained:

“The reality is our cost structure must be better optimised to match our customer base and call volumes.”

Fair enough—but that’s not the explanation he gave last month on T-Mobile’s Q4 2011 earnings. At that time, he said the reason his company is losing business is because it cannot advertise the iPhone to its customers.

T-Mobile, which does not have a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, lost 1.6 million customers last year, with contracts falling to 24.8 million, down from 26.5 million in 2010. Humm said at the time:

“Branded contract losses improved through the third quarter of 2011, however the launch of the iPhone 4S reversed this trend to a branded contract 
customer loss of 706,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

“… not carrying the iPhone led to a significant increase in contract deactivations in the fourth quarter of 2011.”

Q4 2011 revenue fell to $4.57 billion from $4.69 billion in 2010.

To stem the losses, T-Mobile is pressuring its workers to sell more and more stuff to customers who call up asking for help. The micromanaging is becoming “ridiculous,” according to this angry T-Mobile employee, as the company makes workers’ call scripts longer and longer:

“It is just insane the amount of stuff we are supposed to sell and go over as part of the ‘Complete Solution’. It just seems like they keep adding more and more everyday. They need to put themselves in the customers’ shoes. I try and think about all of my purchasing experiences and I would not want to sit through all of the nonsense they want us to talk about.”

AT&T blamed the FTC for not approving its merger with T-Mobile, and implied that the merger, which would have brought Apple’s iPhone to T-Mobile’s customers, would also have saved those T-Mobile jobs:

“The FCC may consider itself an expert agency on telecom, but it is not omniscient. And when it ventures far afield from technical issues, and into judgments about employment or predictions about business decisions, it has often been wildly wrong.”

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