Webmaster’s note: 7/5/11 It has been brought to my attention that NCLR is not taking an official position on this merger, although Janet Murguia’s words were used in the letter linked below from a group of Latino organizations (Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership), who are in favor of the merger. Some may perceive Murguia’s praise of AT&T and its diversity efforts as greasing the wheels for this merger. In my view, NCLR could have made a stronger statement about the consequences of having fewer mobile providers (fewer choices) for American consumers.
If you have been following the news about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, you are probably aware that AT&T will control nearly half of the cellphone market if the proposed merger goes through. And you know that less choice is just wonderful for the consumer, right? If you don’t like AT&T, you would just be left with Verizon and Sprint as alternatives.
According to Reuters:
“Now holding 27 percent market share, AT&T would gain a 44-percent foothold if the T-Mobile merger is approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
At present, only four companies control 90 percent of the U.S. cellphone market. With a takeover of T-Mobile, AT&T would face off against Verizon and Sprint for dominance, perhaps even triggering a further consolidation of the remaining two smaller players. Would this be good for cell and broadband users?
There’s no guarantee that economies of scale would trickle down to consumers. After all, T-Mobile’s aggressive pricing forced AT&T to offer better plans. Without a strong competitor, prices rarely drop, although that’s not how AT&T is pitching the deal.”
The fearless Latino organizational leaders have come out in support of the merger including the
National Council of La Raza and LULAC. And this largely has to do with the amount of “support” NCLR and LULAC receive from AT&T.
However, there are some smaller organizations pushing back against this merger, and one of them includes the National Hispanic Media Coalition. You can read the NHMC’s statement on the merger here. But I just want to highlight this part about costs:
“Latinos pay more for mobile service than any other demographic group. Latinos, on average pay $102 a month on T-Mobile, compared to $120 a month on AT&T, $117 on Sprint and $115 on Verizon. 25% of T-Mobile customers are Latino, and many of them choose T-Mobile because of its affordability, flexibility and excellent customer service.”
You can contact the FCC and your congressional representative to express your support or concern about this proposed merger. But share your thoughts here as well. Do you think that Latino organizations have more to gain in telecommunications consolidation? Or do the benefits that the organizations receive outweigh the possible added costs to the individual consumer?