Ina Fried

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Consumer Cellular to Lease Shuttered T-Mobile Call Center, Hire at Least 650 Workers

At least some of T-Mobile’s laid-off workers may be getting a reprieve.

Consumer Cellular said on Wednesday that it will sublease a Redmond, Ore., facility and hire upward of 650 people to work at the 77,000-square-foot facility previously run by T-Mobile.

The small, Oregon-based carrier, which is best known for its sales relationship with AARP, said it will open its operations there on Aug. 1. Consumer Cellular said it is working with T-Mobile and several state and local government agencies.

“Consumer Cellular is thrilled to work with T-Mobile and this qualified team of economic development organizations to help save jobs in our state while increasing our operations to meet the needs of our rapidly expanding customer base,” Consumer Cellular CEO John Marick said in a statement. “Having a move-in ready facility with a high-quality existing workforce made perfect sense for us, and we’re looking forward to expanding in the state of Oregon and becoming a part of the Redmond community.”

It’s also a boost to the region, which officials noted already had one of the highest levels of unemployment in the state. Consumer Cellular has existing call centers in Phoenix and Portland, its headquarters.

T-Mobile USA announced in March that it was closing seven call centers, including the Redmond facility, resulting in 3,300 job losses (though it plans to hire 1,400 workers elsewhere). It has since announced a further 900 job cuts.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik