We Don’t Need Bigger Phone Companies, We Need Better Ones!
1. NO TANGIBLE BENEFITS TO CUSTOMERS No guarantees that the newly merged company won’t focus promotions and resources toward wealthier urban customers with as Verizon and AT&T have done, and no guarantees that merged company will prioritize low income and prepaid services.
2. INADEQUATE INFRASTUCTURE COMMITMENTS ESPECIALLY FOR RURAL CUSTOMERS
Californians living in areas where wildfire danger is high know how critically important reliable phone service is in an emergency. The infrastructure expansion plans included in the merger proposal do not include appropriate battery back-up or adequately address network redundancies. Promised investments of $2.1B nationwide in rural areas do not seem sufficient to achieve the speeds/capacity the company claims for these high cost areas.
3. UNREALISTIC AND UNENFORCABLE PROMISES MADE TO CONVINCE REGULATORS TO APPROVE
Promised state-wide improvements to speed and services, including claims of wide-spread 5G coverage in just a few years, appear to be unrealistic and will be difficult to monitor and enforce as the reality of high costs and implementation barriers force slower progress or cancellations of plans all together.
4. INADEQUATE UNIVERSAL SERVICE GUARANTEES and INADEQUATE PROTECTIONS FOR VULNERABLE LOW INCOME LIFELINE CUSTOMERS
No clear commitment that eligible LifeLine customers will benefit from the merger with the same fast speeds, improved customer service, and fancy services the company is otherwise promising. The new company plans to offer discounted services only through the smallest most obscure affiliate.
5. CONSOLIDATION LEADS TO MORE MARKET POWER NOT LESS
The economic impacts of the loss of a major competitor in the prepaid market and in the wholesale market for reseller access could be enormous and painful for California consumers. Many of these resellers use the Sprint and T-Mobile networks to offer prepaid and LifeLine services. A single carrier will have more market power forcing customers to accept worse terms and conditions that will likely be passed through to their customers.