Press Release – This morning, the Center for Media Justice filed a petition with the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, saying no to AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile. Over three hundred signatures were collected from individuals who believe the merger will be a disaster for all mobile phone users–especially people of color and low‐income communities in rural and urban areas.
“If the proposed merger goes through, just two companies– AT&T and Verizon–would control nearly 80 percent of the mobile market in this country. In addition, the loss of a low cost wireless carrier would force 20,000 T-Mobile workers to lose their jobs,” said amalia deloney, Grassroots Policy Director for the Center for Media Justice.
The Center for Media Justice (CMJ) is leading this effort alongside the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), a national coalition of community organizations working in local communities across the country to ensure low-income and working Americans are represented in the heated debate over the proposed takeover.
The petition and letter ask the FCC and DOJ to stop the merger on behalf of the millions of people in the United States who are already struggling to obtain essential modern communications services. “If the merger goes through,” said Betty Yu, MAG-Net Coordinator, “customers can expect an increase in their mobile service plans by as much as $50 a month.”
The filing of the petition launches MAG-Net’s ‘Month of Action’ against the merger. Throughout August, member organizations will conduct in-district visits with Congressional representatives, hold community education sessions and participate in online actions.
“When people understand what’s at stake, they are upset,” said Steven Renderos of the Minneapolis-based, Main Street Project. “Half the battle is cutting through the technical language. People need something they can understand–that’s why we created Mo’ Mergers, Mo’ Problems. We took a hip hop classic and remixed it to talk about the merger.” The Center for Media Justice believes the merger does not meet public interest obligations, and therefore should be blocked.