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AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Tips the Scales against Consumers, Says New Ad from Consumers Union

NEWS RELEASE

Consumers Union – Nonprofit Publisher of Consumer Reports

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Contact:  David Butler (dbutler@consumer.org), Kara Kelber (kkelber@consumer.org): 202-462-6262

AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Tips the Scales against Consumers, Says New Ad from Consumers Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress prepares to hold a hearing on the AT&T/T-Mobile deal next month, Consumers Union unveiled a full page ad in Politico this morning raising concerns that the merger will result in higher prices, fewer choices, and less customer satisfaction.

Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union said, “A combined AT&T and T-Mobile means a wireless market dominated by two companies – AT&T and Verizon –with little incentive to offer lower rates or better service, leaving consumers hanging in the balance. Our concern is if T-Mobile is out of the wireless market, many consumers who really need a low-cost carrier will have even fewer options for national service. Ultimately, it appears this deal would not benefit consumers, whether you’re talking about price, choice, or service, and we hope that Congress will examine this as hearings begin.”

The advertisement features the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile as the 800 pound gorilla of the telecom industry sitting on one side of a scale, with consumers struggling to hang on to the other side. The ad also encourages readers to visit www.HearUsNow.org to learn more, sign a petition and make their voice heard.

To view the advertisement, please click here.

A price analysis survey of the voice and data plans available from AT&T and T-Mobile released by Consumers Union this week demonstrates that T-Mobile wireless plans typically cost $15 to $50 less per month than comparable plans from AT&T. In addition, the most recent cell-phone satisfaction survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center shows that AT&T got lower marks than T-Mobile on almost every attribute rated, suggesting the proposed merger would be a setback to T-Mobile customers if it lead to service more resembling AT&T’s than T-Mobile’s.