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Consumers Union: Block AT&T, T-Mobile Deal Consumers Union: Block AT&T, T-Mobile Deal

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Congress

Consumers Union: Block AT&T, T-Mobile Deal

March 25, 2011

Consumers Union's stance on AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile is clear: the transaction must be blocked.

"I don't think there are really any conditions that could, at this point, alleviate the harms that would come out of the transaction," Parul Desai, policy council for Consumers Union, told C-SPAN Friday during the taping of the latest segment of "The Communicators," to air Saturday and Monday.

"AT&T hasn't shown to me why it would need T-Mobile's assets and spectrum" to achieve its post-merger goal of extending advanced 4G wireless service to 95 percent of the country, she said. "They already have the spectrum [they need]. They just haven't invested [in] or built out that spectrum."

While Desai acknowledges that wireless voice prices have gone down in recent years, she said that rates for broadband data plans are on the rise. "If this venture is about mobile broadband, that obviously involves data," she said.

Desai also raised concerns about the specter of layoffs, a worry shared by the Communications Workers of America, despite its early endorsement of the deal. "We will obviously be looking at that carefully. Our first priority as a union is to ensure the employment security of workers at the companies," Debbie Goldman, CWA's Telecommunications Policy Director, told C-SPAN. "We care a lot about this," Goldman added.

CWA supports the transaction because AT&T Wireless is unionized, and the acquisition of T-Mobile would provide an opportunity for its employees to organize.

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