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AT&T cuts 12,000 jobs

05 декабря 2008

AT&T, the largest US telecoms group, plans to cut 12,000 jobs, or about 4 per cent of its workforce, and reduce capital spending next year in response to the economic slump, which has accelerated the loss of residential phone lines.

AT&T is the latest US operator to announce cutbacks in its capital spending, although it said actual spending plans had yet to be finalised.

The Dallas-based company is expected to release further details in late January but analysts expect AT&T to cut spending levels by about 12 per cent from 2008 levels to $17bn next year.

The capital spending cuts, reflect an expectation that growth will slow in the mobile market, and have added to the gloom among telecoms equipment manufacturers.

Nokia Siemens, the equipment joint venture, said on Thursday it expected telecoms network equipment spending to decline by about 4 per cent next year.

Shares in makers of network equipment have continued to tumble. In early trading on Thursday Cisco Systems’ shares were down 2 per cent at $15.63, Juniper Networks was almost 5 per cent lower at $15.91, and ADC Telecom had dropped 3.5 per cent to $6.62.

AT&T attributed the job cuts to “economic pressures, a changing business mix and a more streamlined organisational structure”.

It would take a charge of about $600m in this year’s fourth quarter to cover severance payments, the company said.

In April AT&T said it planned to cut 4,600 jobs, mostly in management. The company had previously announced a three-year plan to cut 10,000 jobs.

While AT&T is cutting its overall workforce, it emphasised that it was adding jobs in areas such as wireless, video and broadband access.

Verizon Communications and Sprint Nextel, the second and third largest US telecoms groups, have also cut jobs to trim expenses.

The job cuts come as AT&T, in common with other traditional US carriers, struggles to manage the declining number of landlines as consumers switch to wireless or cheaper broadband telephony services offered by cable and internet companies.

In AT&T’s third quarter results last month, wireline voice revenue had fallen more than 8 per cent from a year earlier.

Its exclusive deal with Apple to sell the iPhone in the US has helped it win wireless customers but subsidies on the handset it provides to customers have hurt profit margins.

Shares of AT&T have dropped about 30 per cent so far this year, as investors have questioned whether the company will be able to make up for the rapid decline in traditional wireline customers.

There are also concerns that growth in the wireless unit will slow.

AT&T’s shares closed down 91 cents at $28.17, a fall of 3.13 per cent on Thursday.

Источник: Financial Times

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