This week dozens of advocates appeared before the CPUC to oppose a merger that would raise cell phone costs for the entire country, hitting low-income communities the hardest.
This week in California digital rights and labor activists appeared before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at public hearings in Fresno, Los Angeles and San Diego to warn that that the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint would to higher cell phone prices and worse plans for mobile phone users. The hearings come on the heels of a major DC scandal where T-Mobile executives were caught repeatedly staying at the Trump hotel while the merger awaited the president’s approval.
The hearings took place Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week and followed a new report from the CPUC’s Public Advocate’s Office warning that the merger would provide significant harm to California residents due to higher cell phone costs. Opposition to the deal is mounting and over 10,000 Californians have signed petitions opposing the deal. Signatures were collected by advocacy groups including Fight for the Future, Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Demand Progress, and Free Press.
See PHOTOS of the public hearings here, which are available for use by press: https://imgur.com/a/ohC1hHQ
If the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is approved, it will reduce the number of national mobile phone providers from four to three, which experts warn will lead to higher prices and worse offerings. Research on mobile markets from Europe shows the presence of a fourth provider is very important for prices, as countries with only three carriers pay twice as much for data as those with four.
Adrian Martinez, Membership Organizer at the Center for Media Justice and Los Angeles resident, stood before the CPUC at a hearing this week and said, "I am a T-Mobile customer, and am concerned about the impacts that this merger will have on poor people, communities of color, workers, and rural communities." You can read their full statement here.
Earlier this month, Fight for the Future launched a new campaign platform to fight the T-Mobile / Sprint merger at https://www.thismergerwillmakeyourcellphonebillmoreexpensive.com/. So far over 15,000 people from across the country have taken action to oppose the deal. The deal is currently under review by the FCC and DOJ, who are expected to rule on the deal in the coming months.