AT&T + T-Mobile = Train Wreck

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AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile is a disaster for all mobile phone users. It stifles choice and innovation in the market, and will lead to higher prices and fewer jobs nationwide. 

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    AT&T, the nation’s second-largest mobile phone company, has announced its plan to buy T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier. 

    This deal would form a communications colossus not seen since the monopoly days of Ma Bell. Two companies, AT&T and Verizon, would control nearly 80 percent of the mobile market in America.

    AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile would take away choice for users. And a lack of choice means higher prices, poor service and less innovation for everyone. 

    Free Press and our allies are determined to protect the public from this train wreck of a deal. We need to act before Washington can cave in again to industry -- and raise thousands of voices in protest.

    Sign on to this action and urge your friends on Facebook and Twitter to join in.

    (Want to learn more about the effects of this potential merger? Learn to separate fact from fiction below.) 

    Fact v. Fiction

    AT&T says the T-Mobile takeover "strengthens and expands U.S. mobile broadband infrastructure," and that it helps us "achieve policymaker goals of deploying broadband to 95 percent of the country, including smaller, rural communities."

    Reality: According to recent Commerce Department data, wireless services are already available to 95 percent of Americans. If this merger goes through, analysts speculate that AT&T will decommission upwards of 40,000 wireless towers, reducing the quality of coverage for hundreds of thousands of Americans.

    AT&T says the overall average price-per-minute for wireless services has declined 50 percent since 1999, "during a period which saw five major wireless mergers."

    Reality: That figure is highly misleading. While the cost to consumers for voice services has dropped, the sum total of charges on mobile phone bills has dramatically increased. Added costs include spiraling rates for texting and data services as well as hidden handset subsidies. With less competition among carriers, we can expect AT&T to charge you even more.

    AT&T says the merger "enables the next era of American innovation and continued growth of U.S. high tech industry."

    Reality: The merger would allow AT&T to exert even greater gatekeeper control over what happens on the wireless Web. The company has a long history of blocking competing services -- like Skype, GoogleVoice and Slingbox. And AT&T’s expanded control over the handset market will stifle innovation in devices. In the past, AT&T has crippled handheld phones that can do more than what the company wants.

    AT&T says the merger will expand the American workforce by moving thousands of new jobs to the United States.

    Reality: When was the last time a merger actually created jobs for Americans and not more pink slips? This merger puts the jobs of nearly 40,000 U.S. T-Mobile employees at risk. Many of the jobs at retail stores and call centers will be eliminated, and there will be more jobs lost as the effects of this merger ripple through the broader economy.