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Job cuts coming after T-Mobile acquires smaller wireless company

(Image: Detusche Telekom/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

The Shenandoah Telecommunications Company says it will eliminate more than 300 jobs after selling its wireless division to T-Mobile earlier this year.

The job losses will help the company better known as Shentel save around $4 million a year in business expenses, executives affirmed on Tuesday.

Shentel operated as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on T-Mobile’s wireless network for years before deciding to sell that part of its business to T-Mobile in February. The deal, valued at nearly $2 billion, is expected to close later this year.

The eliminated positions are mainly in Shentel’s wireless operation and will impact around 90 percent of workers who are not expected to automatically move to T-Mobile, the company said. The job losses will result in a reduction of Shentel’s work force by about 30 percent; the company says it will come out the other side with roughly 860 employees who will support other parts of Shentel’s business.

“We announced to our employees today the necessary plans to begin to reduce the size of our workforce for the anticipated divestiture of our wireless assets and operations,” Christopher French, Shentel’s chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “Although this change was anticipated, its impact will cause disruption and uncertainty for the affected employees and their families.”

It was not clear why T-Mobile did not agree to hire the affected Shentel workers as part of the acquisition. French said Shentel would be providing career counseling to all impacted employees and would work with T-Mobile with the hopes that the larger wireless company would hire as many of its laid off workers as possible.

French said Shentel will also provide financial assistance in the form of severance pay and some health care benefits that were expanded through the American Rescue Plan, (which was intended to help displaced workers who lost their jobs as a result of the ongoing coronavirus health pandemic, not workers who were laid off due to a $2 billion merger between wireless companies).

If the deal closes later this year, T-Mobile will acquire more than 1 million wireless customers from Shentel.