Wednesday, March 23, 2011
WASHINGTON– Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, urged Congress to scrutinize AT&T’s proposal to purchase T-Mobile. In a letter sent to key House and Senate lawmakers on Wednesday, the organization warned that implications of the proposed merger could negatively impact consumers and further stifle competition in the wireless market.
“Many consumers are already subject to high phone bills and cannot easily switch carriers for a variety of reasons such as early termination fees or the inability to get the device of their choice. Allowing AT&T to purchase T-Mobile will result in nearly 80% of the market being dominated by two wireless carriers. Such concentration cannot be good news for consumers,” said Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union.
Consumers Union notes that the market is currently not competitive because key access issues such as data roaming and infrastructure are generally controlled by AT&T and Verizon. This requires smaller competitors to negotiate agreements with these two telecom giants. The letter underscored the need for the Federal Communications Commission to address these and other anti-competitive issues.
The letter comes in advance of official documents from AT&T and T-Mobile on the proposed transaction being submitted to the FCC and Department of Justice. For a copy of the full letter, please contact David Butler or Kara Kelber at Consumers Union (see below).
David Butler or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262