NEW YORK –- Cell phone users are skeptical of AT&T's claims that their planned$39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile will result in faster service and more options for customers.
While it's unclear what the deal will mean for consumers, in an (admittedly unscientific) poll of cell phone users in New York City the Huffington Post found that few users believe there would be dramatic changes in service.
"It's like, what's the difference?" said Ben, a T-Mobile user. "At the end of the day, choice is kind of irrelevant. They're all the same price, they have the same options and they all have the same phones. They're just moving closer to one cell phone company, and it's a problem, because I'm an American and I like choice."
Yet there were also markedly negative opinions, with T-Mobile customers worried that AT&T could negatively affect everything from speed to customer service.
Jean Carislil, 28, said that he was worried his service will deteriorate, despite what he says are already numerous problems with his T-Mobile service, such as dropped calls and difficulty reaching customer service representatives.
"I just got traded without my knowledge," said Carislil, 28, said outside of a T-Mobile store.
Some AT&T users said they didn’t think service would change significantly when T-Mobile is brought into the fold, predicting their carrier’s bugs would probably remain unchanged.
"It drops calls, but it's just something I've accepted," said Malu Peoples, 52, as she clutched her AT&T iPhone.
Lily Fisher, 21, echoed her concerns. "It's definitely a pain in the ass," she said of the wireless service provider, adding that she lost reception even in her 10th floor apartment.
There was some optimism, however.
AT&T user Shana Fox said her service and her upgrades got better when AT&T took over Cingular in 2007. AT&T's most touted reason for buying T-Mobile is getting hold of additional wireless spectrum to support more data-hungry devices like the iPhone.
Maybe by adding T-Mobile's capacity, AT&T would finally stop dropping calls, Fox said hopefully.
"And it might get cheaper," she added.
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