U.S. telecom giant Verizon Wireless is closing down five call centers in a move that could affect more than 5,000 employees. Nearly a thousand agents will lose their jobs at its call center in Irvin, California, while Verizon will also close two call centers in Pennsylvania and one each in Ohio and Connecticut.
The wireless carrier will shift about 2,200 of the employees to nearby offices, while the remaining 3,000 can apply for different jobs, relocate elsewhere in the country or take a buyout package, said Verizon’s spokesman Tom Pica, according to a Bloomberg report.
Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc and Britain’s Vodafone Group, but Verizon Communications has recently struck a deal to buy back all of Vodafone’s stake in its wireless firm.
A Vodafone spokesman, according to Bloomberg, dismissed reports that the closure of the call centers was linked to the buy-back plan.
US telecom operators seem to be slowly phasing out their call centers in an attempt to cut costs. A large majority of them, analysts say, are automating their customer service. In 2012, Verizon closed a handful of call centers across the country, affecting more than 3,000 jobs. T-Mobile USA also closed seven call centers in the first half of 2012.
But the onshore call center industry has continued to grow, creating thousands of jobs in the past 12 months. “A large number of companies are hunting for customer care agents and thousands of positions are still vacant across the nation,” said the job board CallCenterCrossing in a recent statement. According to its findings, there are 22,965 job openings in the US call center industry.
The closures will reduce the number of Verizon call centers to 26 in the United States. Employees working at the affected call centers can seek jobs in other Verizon offices and those who cannot find continued employment will receive severance packages.