AT&T announced the buyout of T-Mobile for $39 Billion from Deutsche Telekom AG that would make it the largest cellphone company in the United States.
I wonder if this makes anyone uncomfortable. If that does not make you uncomfortable in itself, then certainly a statement from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson who said one of the goals of the acquisition would be to move T-Mobile customers to smart phones, which have higher monthly fees.
Public Interest Group Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn stated, “We know the results of arrangements like this – higher prices, fewer choices, less innovation,”. It is obvious she is correct.
For T-Mobile customers, this potential move still subject to FCC scrutiny will be the most unsettling. On the fence will be T-Mobile’s much-loved no-contract plans, AT&T’s network which historically has been known as unreliable, and the ever-present chance of rate hikes.
This move, if approved, will limit the number of cell phone carriers with the bulk of the market to AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint-Nextel. I am waiting for one of these giants to try to pick up Cricket one day. As silly as it seems, I believe that if this deal is approved, we will see a mass exodus into services such as Cricket especially since Cricket type services have introduced Smart Phones to their lines. Of course, their network just does not compare in coverage area as the giants do, but in these hard economic times…it is the price that counts. With statements such as the one made by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, it is clear that AT&T does not care about the financial woes of the citizens of the world. What is clear is that they are only concerned with maintaining a gaining profit potential in these hard economic times.
Due to the long regulatory process, AT&T expects the acquisition to take a year to close. But when and if it closes, T-Mobile USA customers would get access to AT&T’s phone line-up, including the iPhone. Oh great, access to a phone that many others have either equaled or surpassed. Stephenson claims, “It obviously will have a significant impact in terms of dropped calls and network performance,”. Yes Mr. Stephenson, I believe it will. I believe it will degrade overall performance.
What can we do to stop this? Be vocal! Contact Public Interest Group Public Knowledge (http://www.publicknowledge.org/). Raise your voice. We can stop this as a collective. Let’s force the regulators to stop AT&T attempt at cornering the market.
—– Erik Sudberg