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Up to 1,000 jobs pledged to Nassau if state OKs T-Mobile-Sprint merge

A suit brought by New York Attorney General

A suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James and other state attorneys general seeks to block the T-Mobile-Sprint combination. Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

Telecom giants T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. promised Thursday to create up to 1,000 jobs at a new call center in Nassau County if their proposed merger is approved by state regulators.

The announcement came weeks before arguments are to be made in Manhattan federal court in a lawsuit seeking to block the T-Mobile-Sprint combination. The suit was brought by state Attorney General Letitia James and other state attorneys general, who have raised antitrust concerns.

A James spokesman declined to comment Thursday.

The $26 billion merger has been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. Some of Sprint’s businesses are being purchased by DISH Network Corp.

T-Mobile, with 84 million subscribers, and Sprint, with 54 million subscribers, are the third- and fourth-largest providers of cellular telephone service.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said Thursday, “Nassau County is a great spot for our next New T-Mobile Customer Experience Center. … Once this merger closes, we know Long Islanders will bring an incredible work ethic, a commitment to innovation, and amazing energy to taking care of our customers,” he said.

The companies have announced plans to add five call centers to a network of 17 across the United States.

Besides Nassau, the new call centers will be in upstate Henrietta, south of Rochester; Overland Park, Kansas; and Kingsburg, California. The location of a fifth center has yet to be announced, a spokeswoman said.

California's attorney general has joined the lawsuit while the Kansas attorney general has approved the merger. 

T-Mobile executives said Thursday that the Nassau call center will be built by union workers whose wages will be set by a Project Labor Agreement. The company will not request tax breaks or grants from state and local governments, the executives said.

The T-Mobile spokeswoman said a site for the Nassau call center hasn’t been selected. The jobs created there would be in additional to the T-Mobile and Sprint employees who currently work in the county, she said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said the proposal “exemplifies the type of corporate economic activity we hope to attract.” The call center “will provide a meaningful economic boost for our community, creating up to 1,000 new and exciting job opportunities, while generating significant tax revenue and increasing innovation.”

Matthew Aracich, president of the union umbrella group Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council, said T-Mobile’s pledge to employ unionized builders “is a signal that they value the importance of what a strong middle class means to the region.”

James, in announcing the lawsuit in the summer, said, “The merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would stifle competition, cut jobs, and harm vulnerable consumers from across the country … We have much to lose if we do not take action to protect our people from this megamerger.”

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