AT&T and Verizon’s wireless duopoly is on the rise and it will hurt YOU

May 26, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) held a press conference to raise antitrust and public interest concerns surrounding the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile wireless telecommunication companies.  Markey explained further:

The AT&T – T–Mobile deal is like a telecommunications time machine that would send consumers back to a bygone era of high prices and limited choice,” said Markey. “AT&T and Verizon have divided the nation into Bell East and Bell West. Approving consolidation of the number of nationwide carriers from 4 to 3 and then inevitably to 2 would return consumers to a duopoly in the national wireless market. This would be an historic mistake. Consumers will be tipped upside down, with the money shaken out of their pockets as the lack of competition leads to higher prices. It is innovation and investment in new technology that ultimately leads to the changes that protect consumers and promote competition. Anything less is a huge step backwards for our country’s ability to compete and win in the global marketplace.

Here is an excerpt from Free Press:

AT&T and Verizon would control nearly 80 percent of the market for mobile telecommunications.

As a result of the merger, the wireless market would be more consolidated than the markets for oil, banking, automobiles and air travel. What does that mean? It means that to achieve comparable consolidation in the oil industry, ExxonMobil would have to merge with BP, Shell, Chevron-Texaco and Citgo. And to make the comparison still more accurate, Exxon would not only have to merge, but would require you to buy only Exxon gas for the next two years.

We should all be concerned about this level of concentration in the market for a service that all Americans increasingly depend on. Mobile service is as critical for families as affordable, reliable water and electricity, and communities who can least afford to pay more will bear the cost of lining AT&T’s corporate coffers. That’s why 50 organizations dedicated to social justice filed a letter today with the Department of Justice and the FCC opposing the merger.

In 1984, when the Justice Department broke up the old Ma Bell, the prevailing consensus was that AT&T had gotten too big. But the AT&T-T-Mobile merger would create a behemoth that’s substantially bigger than the old Bell conglomerate. It really is 1984 all over again.

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Category: Politics, Social justice

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    "Communism is like one big phone company."

    Lenny Bruce (1923 – 1966)

    Free Press is fighting the AT&T merger with T-Mobile, and has spelled out its concerns in a statement given at a press conference given on May 25, 2011, hosted by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee:

    STATEMENT OF APARNA SRIDHAR, FREE PRESS POLICY COUNSEL

    AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

    May 25, 2011

    Good afternoon everyone.

    Chairman Conyers, Chairman Markey thank you for the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I’m policy counsel at Free Press, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming the media and ensuring that the public has a voice in media and telecommunications policy debates.

    On behalf of Free Press and its half-million members, I am pleased to see that you share our grave concerns about the AT&T-T-Mobile merger. This takeover will raise prices and reduce choices for Americans across the country.

    Consider that in a post-merger landscape:

    AT&T and Verizon would control nearly 80 percent of the market for mobile telecommunications.

    As a result of the merger, the wireless market would be more consolidated than the markets for oil, banking, automobiles and air travel. What does that mean? It means that to achieve comparable consolidation in the oil industry, ExxonMobil would have to merge with BP, Shell, Chevron-Texaco and Citgo. And to make the comparison still more accurate, Exxon would not only have to merge, but would require you to buy only Exxon gas for the next two years.

    We should all be concerned about this level of concentration in the market for a service that all Americans increasingly depend on. Mobile service is as critical for families as affordable, reliable water and electricity, and communities who can least afford to pay more will bear the cost of lining AT&T’s corporate coffers. That’s why 50 organizations dedicated to social justice filed a letter today with the Department of Justice and the FCC opposing the merger.

    In 1984, when the Justice Department broke up the old Ma Bell, the prevailing consensus was that AT&T had gotten too big. But the AT&T-T-Mobile merger would create a behemoth that’s substantially bigger than the old Bell conglomerate. It really is 1984 all over again.

    But this time, in the wake of the Comcast-NBC merger, while the public is wary of big companies controlling too much of the market, it is also wary of public officials who serve the interests of industry instead of the interests of the public. We hope that the Department of Justice, the FCC and members of Congress will take their cues from 1984, follow the lead of the policymakers and organizations in this room, and oppose the merger.

    http://www.freepress.net/press-release/2011/5/25/

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