Cingular prepared Tuesday to swing the ax, saying it will cut 10% of its staff.

The nation's largest wireless telco, having completed its merger with

AT&T Wireless

last month, is planning to eliminate about 7,000 jobs in the coming year and a half, CEO Stan Sigman said Tuesday in an interview with the

Associated Press

.

A Cingular spokesman said that none of the merger-related cuts will happen before Dec. 1. The company has scheduled a briefing that day to outline its postmerger plans.

Sigman told AP that he didn't expect large cuts in customer care, especially during the holiday buying season. He suggested that the bulk of the reductions would come from administration.

For example, AT&T Wireless' former headquarters in Redmond, Wash., has a lot of management and operations people whose roles are now overlapped by the Cingular team based in Atlanta.

With the cuts, Cingular, a joint venture of

SBC

(SBC)

and

BellSouth

(BLS)

, joins the ranks of the cost-slashing big telcos. Earlier this month, SBC said it will cut 10,000 workers next year. Last month,

Sprint

(FON)

said it would cut an additional 700 employees on top of the previously announced 1,100 it had planned to fire.

Embattled long-distance titan

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

said it was cutting 20% of its staff, and

MCI

(MCIP)

, the No. 2 business-services player, has already cut 13,300 jobs this year. It expects to slash 2,700 more positions by the end of the year.