Two decades ago, AT&T Corp employed more than 1 million people across the US. Yesterday's announcement that AT&T will cut its workforce by 20 percent to 49,000 by the end of the year reflects the decline of a company whose phone service was once ubiquitous in US homes. \nAT&T, retreating from the residential business it began a century ago, is closing offices in West Virginia, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and said yesterday it will eliminate 7,400 more jobs, for a total of 12,300 this year, and write down US$11.4 billion in assets. \nChief Executive David Dorman is shrinking AT&T, the largest US long-distance service provider, as he tries to keep pace with falling phone rates that drove sales last year to the lowest since 1987. In the eight years since the telephone market was deregulated, local carriers such as Verizon Communications Inc have poached more than 35 million residential long-distance customers. \n"They needed to do it as a matter of survival," said Daniela Spassova, a fund manager at Principal Global Investors in Des Moines, Iowa, which owns AT&T bonds. "It shows you how grave the situation is." \nAT&T shares have fallen 26 percent this year as profit tumbled. The stock rose as much as US$0.31 to US$15.35 in extended trading after the announcement yesterday. They earlier fell US$0.16 to US$15.04 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. \nBedminster, New Jersey-based AT&T yesterday said it stepped up the pace of firings. The company had planned to cut the workforce by 8 percent. \nThe decision to pull back from the consumer market prompted the extra cuts, AT&T said. About three-quarters of those affected have already left or been notified, the company said. \nAT&T's decline has been reflected in its market value, which has tumbled from US$51.7 billion in 1999 to US$12 billion yesterday, according to Bloomberg data. \nThe stock was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in April and replaced by Verizon. AT&T's assets have tumbled from US$150 billion in 1983, before the company was ordered broken up by the government, to US$44 billion in June. \nVerizon, with a market capitalization of US$114 billion, is now 10 times larger than AT&T. SBC Communications Inc has a market value of US$90 billion. \nAT&T's credit rating has also mirrored the company's fortunes. \nHaving once commanded the highest AAA rating, AT&T was cut to junk, or below investment grade, by Moody's Investors Service in July, which cited "relentless" competition that will cause a longer, larger decline in revenue and profit than previously thought. \nAT&T's first-half profit plunged 63 percent and sales dropped 12 percent. Operating income will fall to US$1 billion to US$1.4 billion this year from US$3.66 billion last year, AT&T said in June. \nSales will fall to about US$30 billion from US$34.5 billion. \nAbout 60 percent of the employees losing their jobs are managers, AT&T said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012