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Verizon Wireless today announced plans to close its call center operations in Bellevue, a move that will lead to the elimination of about 850 jobs  in the Seattle area.

“This was a very difficult but necessary business decision,” the company said in a statement. “Our employees are very highly skilled and we want to help as many as possible find other jobs within the company.”

The company said that employees can apply for other jobs within the company, and it will offer $10,000 in relocation expenses. It plans to have the operations transitioned to other locations by the end of the second quarter. It will retain its regional headquarters and other groups in Bellevue. The closest nearby facility is Salt Lake City, Utah.

The company offered these reasons for the closure in a statement:

We can do a better job for customers by centralizing work that’s now done in multiple centers.

We’ll be able to give business customers better tech support without transferring them to other locations

We’ll get better at helping customers who prefer to do business with us online by centralizing those functions.

In addition to the closure of the operations in Bellevue, Verizon said that it plans to close call center operations in Houston and Southfield, Michigan. It also will merge two call centers in Northern California, and consolidate some operations in Ohio and Illinois.

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