AT&T – T-Mobile Merger Gets Public Hearing in California

AT&T T-Mobile Takeover: Fewer jobs, fewer choices

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is holding a hearing today on the proposed merger of AT&T and T-mobile. If the deal goes through, 80% of the U.S. telecommunications market would be controlled by just two companies (AT&T and Verizon). AT&T has lined up support from community organizations through their charitable contributions and the promise of jobs.

However, media reform activist Art Brodsky, and others, point to the history of how "[t]he workforce of these telecommunications giants has been decimated by corporate downsizing."

Verizon and AT&T had asked for the employment data to be confidential, but the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) turned down the request. Opposition at the CPUC hearing will be spearheaded by The Greenlining Institute, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), and Free Press. These organizations plan to highlight concerns about the merger’s impact on customers, including reduced consumer choice and loss of low-cost wireless service. A letter co-signed by California Congresswoman Anna Eshoo states that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile “would be a troubling backward step in federal public policy – a retrenchment from nearly two decades of promoting competition and open markets to acceptance of a duopoly in the wireless marketplace.” The San Jose Mercury News recently published an Op-ed in support of the merger, pointing to an FCC report that claims it will be good for California’s economy. California is one of several states holding hearings on the proposed merger. Arizona’s Corporation Commission recently approved the deal, albeit without a public hearing.

GUEST: Amallia Deloney, Grassroots Policy Director at the Center for Media Justice

Today’s Public Participation Hearing is at 4 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton Culver City – Marina B, 5990 Green Valley Cir., Culver City.