It’s been almost three years since T-Mobile announced plans to establish a new customer call center in Kingsburg as one component of its merger with competing telecom company Sprint.
Now, applications are being taken online for what will eventually become more than 1,000 new jobs at the center, located in the former Kmart building on Sierra Street just west of Highway 99 in the Fresno County city.
Most of the jobs are for “associate experts,” the people who will be handling calls from customers. Those jobs call for computer knowledge, balancing multiple tasks at the same time, understanding technology and mobile devices, helping customers troubleshoot problems, and providing information on services and devices.
The associate expert jobs come with base pay of $20 per hour “plus serious bonus potential for top performers,” according to the job listing on the T-Mobile website. Benefits for part-time and full-time employees include medical, dental and vision benefits, a 401(k) retirement savings plan, employee stock grants, discounts on phone service, education reimbursement, and other features.
Other jobs at the Kingsburg center include coaches, trainers, senior analysts, manager and senior manager.
The job application process for positions at the center is online with links provided at the bottom of each job listing.
The center is one of several new facilities across the U.S., including in Kansas and New York; the Kingsburg site will field calls from throughout the western part of the country.
What’s in it for Kingsburg?
“I’m thrilled that we are adding 1,000 more talented people from the Kingsburg area to our squad,” said Callie Field, chief customer experience officer for T-Mobile.
An economic analysis commissioned by T-Mobile in 2019 forecast that the Kingsburg call center would have 1,007 employees, including 841 customer representatives and 166 managers and support staff.
“T-Mobile estimates that employees at the center will have an average weekly compensation between $1,129 and $1,254” in both salary and benefits,” the analysis by Berkeley Research Group stated. Total payroll at the center – which would be expected to be fully staffed and operational in 2022 – is expected to be between $56 million and $65 million a year.
The Berkeley Research analysis indicated that lease costs for a call center site would be about $1.5 million per year.
The city of Kingsburg has a population of about 12,000 residents. The community’s location at the junction of three counties – Fresno, Kings and Tulare – means that the new center will likely draw its workforce from throughout the region.
A long time coming
T-Mobile first announced its plans to locate its new “customer experience center” in Kingsburg in April 2019, as the mobile-phone carrier was in the midst of engineering its merger with Sprint.
But the location came with a catch – the call center, and its promise of 1,000 new jobs for Kingsburg and surrounding areas of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties, would only become a reality if the $26 billion merger with Sprint was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.
In its quarterly earnings statement for the first quarter of 2019, T-Mobile reported that it had more than 81.3 million customers, while Sprint’s recent earnings report for the end of 2018 indicated that it had nearly 55 million subscribers to its services.
To allay federal antitrust concerns, T-Mobile was required to sell off the popular Boost Mobile prepaid wireless service, and other Sprint assets are being sold to DISH, the satellite TV provider that will now get into the wireless phone business.
One of the final hurdles for the center came in March 2020, when then-California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a settlement between the state and the two merging telecom companies. California was among several states to sue to block the merger on the grounds that it would harm competition in the wireless industry.
The settlement with California and other states included provisions for the “new T-Mobile to:
Provide low-cost plans available in the state for at least five years.
Freeze current rate plans for at least two additional years.
Offer free broadband internet service and a free mobile WiFi hotspot to qualifying low-income households who don’t currently have broadband access.
Offer “substantially similar employment” to all current T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in California.
Within three years after the deal closes, the new merged T-Mobile commits to having a total number of employees that is equal to or greater than the number of workers employed now by the two separate companies.
Boost participation in a diversity and inclusion program to 60% of its employees within three years.
Reimburse California and other states in the appeal coalition up to $15 million for the costs of their investigation and litigation against the merger.
Prior to the merger, T-Mobile and Sprint were the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the U.S., well behind Verizon and AT&T. The merger vaulted the new combined company into a more solid third place.