Sen. Franken Presses Federal Regulators to Reject AT&T/T-Mobile Merger; Says Deal Would Drive Up Wireless Prices, Cost Thousands of Jobs
Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told federal regulators that they should deny AT&T's request to acquire T-Mobile because the merger would drive up prices for wireless customers and likely cost thousands of jobs.
In a filing sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Sen. Franken said the merger would be a bad deal for consumers, noting that some analysts predict that wireless costs could go up by as much as 25 percent as a result. He also said that the merger would further stifle competition in an already-concentrated wireless market and would allow only two companies-AT&T and Verizon-to control more than 80 percent of the market.
"This transaction is not in the public interest," Sen. Franken said in his filing. "If approved, it would result in greatly reduced competition, the potential loss of thousands of jobs, higher consumer prices, and less innovation in technology. I urge the FCC and the DOJ to deny AT&T's application for approval of its acquisition of T-Mobile."
You can read the full filing here.
Sen. Franken has been a strong advocate for consumers since coming to the Senate. He initially raised concerns about this merger during a statement on the Senate floor on May 4, 2011, which you can view here. Sen. Franken also questioned the impact of the merger on consumers at a Judiciary Committee hearing in May, which you can watch here.
Sen. Franken also worked diligently to strengthen the FCC's order on Net Neutrality and succeeded in strengthening the final ruling. In an effort to help protect consumers from the possible negative effects of the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, Sen. Franken successfully pushed to impose several conditions on the merger. Most recently, Sen. Franken held the first hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law called Protecting Mobile Privacy: Your Smartphones, Tablets, Cell Phones and Your Privacy during which he heard from representatives from Apple and Google, officials from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, and technology experts. He has since introduced the Location Privacy Protection Act that would require companies like Apple and Google as well as app developers to receive express consent from users of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets before sharing information about those users' location with third parties.