AT&T to Cut 4,600 Jobs

As a result, it will take a $374 million pretax charge.
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AT&T

(T) - Get Report

is swinging the ax ahead of its first-quarter earnings report.

In a filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

Friday, AT&T said it will cut approximately 1.5% of its work force as its streamlines its operations.

The move comes as part of the continuing integration between the former AT&T and SBC, and it will primarily affect management employees. AT&T said it will take a $374 million pretax charge for what should amount to 4,600 job cuts.

"This initiative is part of the company's move from a collection of regional companies to one AT&T focused on customers," the company said in the filing. "The vast majority of employees will not be impacted, and headcount overall is expected to remain stable in 2008 as the company hires additional employees to support growth areas."

AT&T was lately up 34 cents, or 0.9%, to $37.91. Rival

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

was climbing 1.9% to $36.54, and

Sprint-Nextel

(S) - Get Report

was rallying 4.4% to $6.67.

The announcement comes just days before the company is set to report first-quarter earnings results. Analysts expect the company to notch a profit of 74 cents a share on $30.71 billion in revenue, according to a Thomson First Call survey.

During the previous quarter, AT&T had a net gain of 2.7 million wireless subscribers. As Sprint has struggled with customer attrition, AT&T is expected to have gained a considerable subscriber count during the first quarter. Additionally, analysts will look for any signs of strength from AT&T's exclusive U.S. contract for

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone.

However, concerns over consumer spending have dogged the telecom giant. In January, AT&T executives said they saw softness in its core phone business, which sparked fears that the slowing economy and the mortgage crunch were starting to hamper its operations.