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Congress

Public Knowledge Pans AT&T Profits As Employment Drops

July 21, 2011

Public Knowledge has one word for AT&T: Congrats!

The advocacy group sent out a rather pointed (read: sarcastic) statement in response to AT&T's earnings report on Thursday, noting that while profits are up, employment is down at the telecom giant.

"We would like to congratulate AT&T on another sterling quarter," said Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn in a statement. "Their revenue is up, to $31.5 billion. Their wireless business is adding customers, growing revenue and selling phones at record levels. Just about the only part of AT&T that's not growing is the number of employees."

According to numbers attached to AT&T's quarterly earnings, and cited by Public Knowledge, there are 13,586 fewer employees than a year ago.

"These numbers show the company has the resources to build out to rural areas if it wants to, and doesn't need to engage in regulatory blackmail by saying that without spending $39 billion for T-Mobile then rural areas won't get service," Sohn said. "The numbers also show that those who think the takeover of T-Mobile will somehow create jobs should take a closer look at the reality of the situation."

An AT&T spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. The company argues that the deal will help expand broadband service and will not result in significant layoffs.

Several labor groups have come out in support of the proposed merger because AT&T's workforce is unionized. One of those groups, the Communications Workers of America, claims that combining T-Mobile and AT&T will create as many as 96,000 jobs.

The FCC suspended its review of the merger on Wednesday.

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