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T-Mobile wants out of its pledge to create 1,000 California jobs

T-Mobile sign
As part of getting permission to acquire Sprint, T-Mobile promised to create 1,000 full-time jobs in California.
(Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

Less than three months into the life of the “new” T-Mobile US Inc., 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 Corp.

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.

Although T-Mobile promised to create 1,000 full-time jobs in California, the company 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.

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“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.

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

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.

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That’s a different picture than the one then-Chief Executive 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.


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