Washington, D.C. May 26, 2011 – Today NHMC announced that it will formally oppose AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile in a petition to deny to be filed with the Federal Communications Commission this coming Tuesday, May 31st. In March, AT&T, currently the second largest wireless phone provider, announced its plans to acquire T-Mobile, the fourth largest. Combined, the duo would make up over 40% of the U.S. wireless market, and would result in two mobile phone giants – AT&T and Verizon – accounting for nearly 80% of the market.
NHMC’s decision was reached after extensive research and consideration of how this deal will impact the Latino community. To its credit, AT&T’s record in the Latino community is commendable. AT&T has a distinguished history of outreach to and philanthropic support of the Latino community, as well as an excellent record of hiring and retaining Latinos at all levels of employment. On balance, however, NHMC has determined that AT&T’s positive corporate responsibility is outweighed by the negative long-term harms that this acquisition will have on consumers, generally, and people of color in particular.
“As so many Americans are struggling financially, particularly Latinos, over 25% of whom are in poverty, NHMC will ask the FCC to ensure that its decision protects the most vulnerable consumers so that they are not disproportionately harmed by higher prices,” said Jessica J. González, NHMC’s Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “The evidence, unfortunately, points to the sad reality that this acquisition will lead to higher mobile phone prices, fewer consumer choices, poor customer service, and layoffs.”
Latinos pay more for mobile service than any other demographic group. Latinos, on average pay $102 a month on T-Mobile, compared to $120 a month on AT&T, $117 on Sprint and $115 on Verizon. 25% of T-Mobile customers are Latino, and many of them choose T-Mobile because of its affordability, flexibility and excellent customer service.