No to T-Mobile merger: Talking to the Feds

Ok, so far we have a few different ways to express your anger. Joining the Save T-Mobile facebook page and signing the Care2 petition are good starts. Contacting people at the FCC and FTC is where the real meat and potatoes are. Remember, these are the folks who swing the final bat. Over the next 12 months, they’ll be investigating this proposal, and they have the power to approve or block it.

Just as a reminder, here’s contact information again:

Contact information for the FCC  courtesy of the Save T-Mobile FB Page:

here are email addresses for the FCC – I have already sent emails to all of them we need to flood their inboxes with our opinions

How to Contact the FCC

To Contact the Commissioners via E-mail
……
Chairman Julius Genachowski: Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael J. Copps: Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov
Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker: Meredith.Baker@fcc.gov

 
And you can reach the Federal Trade Commission at:
 

Questions or Comments about Antitrust Issues

Contact the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, and please include your day-time telephone number.

  • Phone: (202) 326-3300
  • Mail: Write to:
    Office of Policy and Coordination
    Room 383
    Bureau of Competition
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580
  • Email: antitrust@ftc.gov (Note: Email is not secure. Mark confidential information “Confidential” and send it via postal mail.)

So, once we have this info and are writing in to complain, how do we talk to these people? What should we say? Yes, it is important to say that we like our service as it is and don’t want it to change. If you have a “I switched to T-Mobile from AT&T cause their service sucked” story, make sure you tell them that. But I’m not sure that stories from unhappy customers are enough. We have to be able to give them information. Data they can dig further into. Ideas that will lead to more questions. Talking points.

Where do we get those? The points Brett Arends makes in his article, “Why AT&T’s Deal With T-Mobile Must Be Blocked”  are a great place to start. Let’s look:

1) This merger will leave people with less choices for wireless service. As Mr. Arends points out: “The whole essence of our free market system lies in consumer choice. That’s why it’s okay that companies charge what they like, and offer the products and services they like. Ultimately, if the consumer is unhappy, they can take their business elsewhere. Take away that choice and the consumer is powerless.”
 
2) This one is something I didn’t know. By merging with T-Mobile, it appears that AT&T will have complete command over one type of wireless network. Observe: “Because wireless networks either run on GSM or CDMA technology. The two are incompatible. Handsets work on one, or on another, but not both. Verizon and Sprint run on CDMA. And AT&T and T-Mobile run on GSM.”
 
Now, just running off 1/4 of a very well-written article, we’ve extracted a few very solid talking points. This merger is not good for customers because:
 
  • It limits choice, which will likely lead to increased prices and sloppy service.
 
  • GSM is becoming the network of choice for a lot of consumers. Especially ones who travel internationally. Allowing this merger would “lock up” one entire form of wireless for use by a single company.
 
And here’s one from my own research:
 
  • One way cell companies have competed with each other is by offering different technology to their customer base (phones, apps, data streams, etc). If this merger is allowed, a very larger customer base (T-Mobile) would be forced to conform to choices that feel more limited. One example is data use. AT&T has never offered their customers an unlimited data plan. There’s no reason to expect them to start now. T-Mobile customers are used to generous low cost and unlimited data plans. Unlimited use of data is becoming a cultural norm in the U.S. Paying more for less data access is not a benefit for T-Mobile customers.
 
Now that you’ve got a couple of talking points, cruise other merger related articles for more. Find ones that resonate with you. Don’t forget to read the comments as well…people are making sound, well-though out points. Create a message and stay focused. Tell your story, but back it up with the kind of things the government is concerned with: market competition and the flow of money.
 
Good luck!
 
 
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