May 25, 2011: Markey, Conyers Raise Concerns Surrounding AT&T/T-Mobile Merger
WASHINGTON – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee, held a press conference to raise antitrust and public interest concerns surrounding the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile wireless telecommunication companies.
Joining Mr. Conyers and Mr. Markey were representatives from consumer organizations: Gigi B. Sohn, President and Co-Founder of Public Knowledge, Parul Desai, Communications Policy Counsel from Consumers Union, Aparna Sridhar, Policy Counsel from Free Press, and Andrew Schwartzman, Senior Vice President and Policy Director of Media Access Project.
“It is time for the Department to exercise its power and look closely at this national, horizontal merger,” said Conyers. “I am concerned that this merger is bad for consumers, bad for business, and bad for innovation. We must do everything in our power to protect consumers, small businesses and American workers. Mergers always eliminate more jobs than they create. There is every likelihood that the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T could lead to both higher prices and decreased consumer choices.”
"The AT&T - T–Mobile deal is like a telecommunications time machine that would send consumers back to a bygone era of high prices and limited choice,” said Markey. “AT&T and Verizon have divided the nation into Bell East and Bell West. Approving consolidation of the number of nationwide carriers from 4 to 3 and then inevitably to 2 would return consumers to a duopoly in the national wireless market. This would be an historic mistake. Consumers will be tipped upside down, with the money shaken out of their pockets as the lack of competition leads to higher prices. It is innovation and investment in new technology that ultimately leads to the changes that protect consumers and promote competition. Anything less is a huge step backwards for our country’s ability to compete and win in the global marketplace.”
Rep. Markey (middle) and Rep. Conyers (left) speak at a press conference May 25, 2011, regarding the AT&T/ T-Mobile merger and its effect on conusmers and the future of telecommunications innovation