AT&T Files with FCC for T-Mobile Acquisition: Consumers Union Statement

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NEWS RELEASE

Consumers Union – Nonprofit Publisher of Consumer Reports

Thursday, April 21, 2011

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

AT&T Files with FCC for T-Mobile Acquisition: Consumers Union Statement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AT&T filed its acquisition proposal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today, marking the official start of the review process. In addition to the review by Department of Justice, the FCC will review the proposed deal to ensure it is in the public interest.

Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “We routinely hear a lot of complaints from wireless customers about high prices, hidden charges and poor customer service, and it’s hard to see how AT&T buying T-Mobile would improve the situation. We have long sought reform on a number of issues to help promote a marketplace that fosters consumer choice and fair prices, such as interoperability and access to broadband infrastructure. We feel that these should be addressed to facilitate competition in the wireless marketplace before ruling on this transaction.”

Earlier this month, Consumers Union unveiled a full page ad in Politico raising concerns that the merger will result in higher prices, fewer choices, and less customer satisfaction that encourages readers to visit www.HearUsNow.org to learn more, sign a petition and make their voice heard.

A price analysis survey of the voice and data plans available from AT&T and T-Mobile released by Consumers Union 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.

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