back to article Profits just keep rolling in at T-Mobile US. So only thing to do is axe 5,000 workers

T-Mobile US will lay off roughly 5,000 employees, or about seven percent of its workforce, over the next five weeks, the wireless carrier revealed in a recent regulatory filing. In a letter to workers, included in the filing [PDF], CEO Mike Sievert said the cuts were "NOT about foisting more work on fewer people," but rather " …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge


    Everybody, including me, was worried that the deep rotting sickness possessing Sprint would infect T-Mobile after a merger. Despite that, T-Mobile seemed like a strong winner for a while. Prices were low, support was good, 5G coverage was excellent, and home internet works great for those without fiber service. My only problems were entirely phone related (I'm glaring at you, Sony).

    Now prices are rocketing up on new plans, grandfathered plans are getting new footnotes about network priority, Tier 1 tech support has a 20 to 40 minute wait, and physical stores have 30 minute waits. And now layoffs. It's starting to smell like Sprint.

    1. EricB123 Bronze badge

      Re: Contagion

      "Smells like teen Sprint?"

      Sorry, I'll do better next time.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Contagion

      This was bound to happen. In virtually every country where the number of networks has dropped from four to three prices have risen. There was some logic about the tie up being allowed (Sprint was on a technological road to nowhere) but the the FCC should have started looking at ways of increasing competition. But seeing as this hasn't happened anywhere else, I won't be holding my breath over it happening in the US either.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "retaining customers had become more expensive of late"

    This smacks of management by ChatGPT

    Manglement: Retaining customers is costing too much. What should we do?

    ChatGPT: Save money by not retaining customers.

    Manglement: How do we do that?

    ChatGPT: Cut staff to provide a worse service, then the customers will go away.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      I like the cut of your GPT-jib.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Increasing costs of customer retention suggests one or both of the following:

      • customers have wised up to the fact that new customers get preferential terms, which get paid for by existing customers
      • customers have realised they don't need the bells and whistles of a two-year contract and opt to go pre-paid.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Old El Reg quote fits here

    "Remember, if you get hit by a bus tomorrow, your family and friends will miss you forever. The company will look for a replacement the next day."

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Old El Reg quote fits here

      Why would they do that? Surely the bumper could be repaired quickly.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: Old El Reg quote fits here

      Next day? hell the ad for your job would be out before your body reached the morgue

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Old El Reg quote fits here

        You place too much confidence in the efficiency of HR.

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Old El Reg quote fits here

          They will need to get approval/sign/off to replace an existing role ….come on- that will take 6 months at least.

  4. sanmigueelbeer

    NOT about foisting more work on fewer people

    But, rather, foisting more work on those who remain.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "But, rather, foisting more work on those who remain."

      And the smart ones will see this happening and run leaving the trapped and not-so-smart people to make do the best they can.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We have zero intention of being a faceless – or heartless – company"

    Yeah ? Well you blew those intentions right out the door.

    Words vs acts means that your words are meaningless.

    You are a liar.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "We have zero intention of being a faceless – or heartless – company"

      Sprint's big bosses have got a T-Mobile brand to use, that must be worth at least a year or two more of fluffy PR lines and customer goodwill surely?

    2. hedgie

      Re: "We have zero intention of being a faceless – or heartless – company"

      Like the "we apologise for the inconvenience" by people who are taking no steps at all to ensure that it won't happen again/happen less often.

  6. martinusher Silver badge

    The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

    Its a bubble and I reckon that most of us who have worked for a medium to larger company have experienced it. From the outside, of course, because mere 'rude mechanicals' are just part of the faceless help. Inside the C-Suite, OTOH, is a world dominated by spin -- its all about the numbers, about profits ("increasing shareholder value"), about rake-offs for insiders ("I deserve rewarding for increasing profits this quarter") and so on. They're great talkers -- that's how they get the job in the first place -- but in my experience at the "not too big to fail" tier they're like a crew that hops from company to company like dancing on ice floes, enriching themselves even as they leave a trail of devastation in their wake.

    I prefer smaller, closely held, companies because the owner might have a few idiosyncrasies (they tend to boil down to "I'm at work at 5am so I don't see why everyone else isn't here") but they do have a personal stake in the success and longevity of the venture. (That's why I were in the job market I'd take my chances with someone like Musk -- and its also why 'corporate' probably hates him and the PR machine goes into overdrive to diss him at every opportunity.)

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

      The owner may have more of a stake in the survival of the business, but nothing guarantees that that will be compatible with running the business well or treating employees correctly. I get why the stereotype makes sense, but small companies also often do things like assuming they can get away with not paying for things they require and trying to put a lot of responsibility on some person since they pay them, often badly. At least a large company is more likely to realize that they really do need a backup system that's not built during spare time out of old parts and that, if they didn't back up a computer, it's not the IT guy's fault. Smaller companies will make that decision by personal whim, so there's much less of a guarantee about it. The same is true for firing people as this article discusses. A large company is subject to investors wanting a higher share price and may fire people unwisely as a result, but if the owner of a small business doesn't like the way the profit statement looks, they may also take a similar cost-cutting approach. Their ability to fire at scale is lower, but that will make little difference to the people who end up in the affected group.

      Your example of Musk doesn't make much sense to me, either. A person who has just founded a company has to work hard and plan well or they'll lose all the money and time they've put into the business, which could likely be catastrophic to their life plans. Musk can also lose money, but going from many billions to fewer billions isn't really going to prevent him buying more stuff, so he doesn't have that incentive. There is certainly a similarity in that both are ruled by personal whims, but with a small business they're whims that have to bend to pragmatism whereas for a billionaire, there is no such requirement. Also, the companies Musk owns aren't small, even if they're not as large as some companies out there. Musk isn't working in a place so small that he knows most or all of the employees there.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

        What it comes down to is having intelligent and talented managers and there aren't enough of those to go round. The vacuum is filled with MBAs.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

      "because the owner might have a few idiosyncrasies"

      Like leaving behind some wrecked marriages and a bunch of fatherless kids?

    3. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

      5am? Loser! Get out of here!

    4. HMcG

      Re: The ManSpeak / PR Department Seems To Be Fully Staffed

      Personally, I've found you are as likely to have an arsehole for a boss in a small company as in a large one. And if your boss is pressuring you to be at work at 5am just because he is, without compensating you at least as well as he is benefiting out of it, then you're no better off than if you were working for a maga-corp with an equally odious boss.

  7. ecofeco Silver badge


    "We have zero intention of being a faceless – or heartless – company in a situation that is already difficult," he added.

    Bullshit. They epitomize it. In every single aspect of their operations.

  8. MachDiamond Silver badge

    They all suck

    I've had service from all three of the network owners in the US and a few of the resellers. They all have very poor customer service and none of their staff seem to know very much about the technology or how to troubleshoot effectively. The don't get happy, they don't get sad, they just run programs. When I was doing electronic repair, I tried to see how much the owner knew about the item when the brought it in and tease out what the issue was a bit better than "it doesn't work". It could save me a bunch of time if they could help me pinpoint what to look for. Sometimes it was obvious that they weren't going to be any help at all, but I didn't want to run a standard script from top to bottom as some people were really knowledgeable so treating them like a complete noob would be insulting.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Less is More

    Sounds like a right…..

  10. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Those companies are not only digging their own graves by convincing their best elements to leave but they are also hitting the whole economy by reducing the number of potential customers. The more workers there will be, the more they will have to spend, the better the economy will go. But instead of this, we have companies always thinking in the short term to give the max to shareholders, with the blessing of our corrupt leaders. If those ones were truly at the service of their nation, they would favor SME over those megacorps which do whatever possible to avoid to pay their fair share of taxes.

  11. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    CEO Mike Sievert

    Wants a new LearJet/Megayacht/island retreat

    The only thing axing all those people will do is temporarily increase the returns to shareholders. When the service starts to get the attention of the lawyers he'll be 'on his yacht/Plane/Island ' saying 'Suckers'.

    We see this all the time.

    Even companies who do actually care about their workforce get attacked by the aggressive stockholders and made to lay-off most of their employees just so that aggressive resident of Wall St can bank a few billion for him and his frat buddies.

  12. Bitbeisser

    This is just utter bollocks.

    I am a long time Sprint client, who was then transferred over to T-Mobil. And then things immediately started to go south. No longer able to pay my bill in person on a kiosk in the store. Used to be a nice thing under Sprint, in and out and done in 60 secs.

    Then stores started to close left and right, some before, some after being rebranded. An hour wait to pay a bill (no, I do NOT pay online, don't bother mentioning). Then more stores (corporate and franchise) closing. Bill kept increasing. Now they add even another $5 each time I want to pay my bill in a store. But T-Mobil is making $2.2billion of profit in 90 days? How much taxes are they paying on that?

    Seriously, corporate America has gone fully postal and totally out of touch with the reality of it's customers....

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      "Now they add even another $5 each time I want to pay my bill in a store."

      Many of those stores (in the US, at least) are franchises. That surcharge is what they make to process the transaction and doesn't go to the parent company. Some of the those franchises have some many limitations that it's super hard to make any money with them so they close down. Stuff like only being able to sell merchandise approved and provided by the franchiser. Store decorations and organization dictated by the parent. This is why the look like an official outlet, the actual company running the store has little choice.

      Stores in big cities might get enough traffic to sign up enough people to make some money. Small town franchises are often given some leeway so the "store" can be a counter or display within another store. I love general stores in small towns. Where I play rockets on some weekends there is a store in town where you can do your weekly shop including a new cast iron stove if you want one. They have a hobby area with small rocket stuff and a decent hardware selection. They used to have a Radio Shack display, but that's gone now and replaced by a smaller selection of home electronics cables/connectors stuff. The medium sized towns are where those franchise shops are closing down since they have to be a standalone business and aren't getting enough new customers to make money. The corner shop where I am has cases, headphones and other accessories that I can buy when I'm getting other things.

      I like to pay things with cash. I get cash from selling things locally and every so often a customer will pay cash. I like to not put that into the bank and create a paper trail. Being able to pay a utility bill with that cash is a good way to move it. Those transactions are small enough that it keeps the cash under the RADAR. I still pay my utilities sometimes online since there's a paper trail already and I might want to preserve my cash on hand. Big things such as cars need to show a fully taxed source of funds or the US government could take them away until you prove the asset is innocent (RICO laws).

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