Cingular Wireless to Open Six New Call Centers

Cingular Wireless, Atlanta, will open six new call centers in the southern United States by June 1 as part of a nationwide consolidation of its customer contact operations.

The new call centers will employ about 4,200 people total, and each center will include 600 to 900 jobs. The locations of the new centers are Ashland, KY; Ocean Springs, MS; Fayetteville, NC; Johnson City, TN; Lafayette, LA; and Ocala, FL.

Jobs for the new centers will be transferred from 21 existing call centers in the South. These centers will be phased out as the new centers come online. The new call centers will handle both inbound customer contact and outbound telemarketing for the company.

In other news:

Earthlink, Atlanta, opened a customer service and technical support call center in Roseville, CA, in April. The 73,000-square-foot facility employs 300 workers but has the capacity for 900.

The center's initial duties will include support for EarthLink subscribers who have signed up for the company's Internet connection service through since September.

The new center is near EarthLink's former call center in Rocklin, CA. Employees of the Rocklin call center were allowed to relocate to Roseville.

eLEC Communications, Norwalk, CT, in late March announced the opening of a new contact center in its 45,000-square-foot facility in New Rochelle, NY.

The center has 120 seats and is operating at 50 percent capacity. The company expects to fill the empty seats within six months and to install an additional 100 seats by the middle of 2002. The call center is used for outbound telemarketing, inbound customer service and bill collection.

Excell Agent Services, Tempe, AZ, will open a customer care center in Penticton, British Columbia, in mid-June.

The center initially will have 75 to 100 employees, with plans to expand to 500 when the facility is fully operational.

Excell received a $500,000 training grant from the local economic development council and will spend about $2 million in the local economy during the center's start-up phase. The company estimated that the center would add $6 million to $8 million to the local economy annually., New York, is scheduled to open a 20,400-square-foot customer care center in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in September. The new center will employ as many as 300 customer care agents. Agent training began in March.

Three municipal governments and a national economic agency are providing money for the construction of the facility, and the province of Nova Scotia is providing an estimated $4.6 million in Canadian dollars over six years in payroll tax rebates for

West Corp., Omaha, NE, created 700 jobs in Pensacola, FL, with the opening of its new customer contact center there April 1. West purchased the 57,000-square-foot facility in January. The center has an annual payroll of $13 million and will add an estimated $20 million to the region's economy. West Corp. picked the location because of the availability of labor in the area.

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