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Employment at Telecommunications Firms Drops 3%

Employee headcount for the area’s 18 largest wireless and other telecommunications companies dropped 3% this year to 6,881, based on the Business Journal annual list.

New Jersey-based Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile of Bellevue, Wash., held the top spots with an estimated 1,600 and a reported 1,314 workers, respectively, in their local offices. The two companies swapped the top slots from last year’s ranking as T-Mobile employee count fell 20%.

AT&T Communications of Dallas, Charter Communications Inc. of Stamford, Conn., and Cox Communications Inc. of Atlanta were steady in third, fourth place and fifth places, respectively.

The highest-ranking local company was Costa Mesa-based Ultra Mobile, which moved up two places to No. 7, as its headcount rose 37% to 205. Ultra Mobile sells prepaid cell phone plans with unlimited nationwide talk and global text with free international calling to 80+ countries on the T-Mobile network.

Aussies Calling

Mobilitie, the privately held telecommunications infrastructure giant founded by Gary Jabara, is passing into Australia hands as the company holds its own in the latest rankings of top local companies in the sector.

Newport Beach-based Mobilitie slipped only slightly to No. 8 on the list, based on employee numbers, as its OC headcount was estimated at 200.

Sydney-based BAI Communications said in June it had reached agreement to buy Mobilitie for a price reportedly close to $1.7 billion.

Before press time, a BAI spokesman cited an earlier statement that “the transaction is subject to customary regulatory clearances and is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.”

“This guidance still stands,” the spokesman said on Aug. 17.

Mobilitie’s infrastructure offerings enable wireless coverage in a variety of settings, ranging from stadiums to casinos as telecommunications companies increasingly focus on super-fast 5G wireless technology.

The company’s projects include public transit systems in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, Staples Center and L.A. Live in Los Angeles, and the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Notables

No. 6 Crown Castle USA, which is trying to crack the OC market for cellular phone towers, boosted its headcount by 27% to 271.

• Irvine-based Infinite Electronics, a global supplier of telecom components led by Chief Executive and President Penny Cotner, moved up two slots to No. 9 as its headcount went from 143 last year to 150 currently. Infinite said in March it had been acquired by Warburg Pincus from Genstar Capital. Terms of the transaction were undisclosed.

Irvine-based CalAmp Corp. (Nasdaq: CAMP) jumped two notches to No. 11, as its headcount nudged up from 110 last year to 114 currently. CalAmp also is tallied on the list of OC software companies, where it rose one notch to No. 21.

Jeff Gardner, the chief executive of the vehicle tracking and management company, told the Business Journal on July 22 that he sees business conditions continuing to improve as the global semiconductor shortage eases.

“We’re seeing a recovery, certainly,” Gardner said. “I think the supply chain issues will get better as we get later in the year.” 

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Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal
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