AT&T is not planning to close the T-Mobile call center in Oakland, the company said in a statement Thursday to Maine’s U.S. senators.

The statement came in response to a letter sent late last month from Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who urged AT&T’s chief executive officer, Randall Stephenson, to “consider the impact” on the call center amid its proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA.

The senators expressed a “profound concern about the impact on Maine jobs” as a result of the $39 billion purchase. The call center has about 700 employees.

James W. Cicconi, AT&T’s senior executive vice president for external and legislative affairs, wrote in a letter Thursday to the senators that the companies continue to operate independently as the proposed merger is reviewed by federal officials.

“As a result, we are limited in the amount of information we can obtain about T-Mobile’s current operations,” Cicconi writes. “However, based on the information available to us currently, we have no plans to close the T-Mobile call center in Oakland following the merger closing.”

Cicconi says more information will be shared with T-Mobile employees when the merger is nearly complete.

“We are mindful of, and have great respect for, the fine record of T-Mobile in delivering high quality customer care,” he writes. “At AT&T, we also strive to deliver the highest level of customer care, and it would be our objective that the combination of best practices and top flight personnel from both companies would allow even greater service to our joint base of customers.”

In a joint statement, Snowe and Collins said they were “encouraged that AT&T has stated it has no current plans to close the Oakland call center.”

“We are also pleased that AT&T recognizes the outstanding dedication and talent of these workers, and has pledged to keep them informed about any developments that may affect them and their families,” they said.

Prior to the pressure from Snowe and Collins, AT&T officials had been noncommittal about the call center’s future.
Kate MacKinnon, a spokeswoman for AT&T, initially said it was “premature” to know whether the call center would be affected by the sale. T-Mobile USA’s current owner is Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany’s largest phone company.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the $39 billion sale would enable the cell phone carriers to make billions in cost cuts, which would “probably involve thousands of job losses.”

AT&T does not currently operate call centers in Maine.

The T-Mobile call center opened in Oakland’s sprawling FirstPark complex in 2005, investing $17 million to locate in a 78,000-square-foot call center.

Snowe and Collins said in their letter that the call center is “one of T-Mobile’s most successful and highest performing,” and has been “consistently been ranked as one of the ‘Best Places to Work in Maine’ by the Best Companies Group, and its workers contribute greatly to T-Mobile’s frequent awards for customer satisfaction and quality from J.D. Power & Associates.”

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