Do you believe in fairy tales?
AT&T wants you to. The phone giant is trying to make everyone believe that its takeover of T-Mobile would be good for jobs, innovation and the economy, while saving you hundreds of dollars on your smartphone.
The opposite is true. But that didn't stop AT&T from making these claims in a 381-page FCC filing that was so filled with half-truths and fantasies that the Los Angeles Times said it came from Alice in Wonderland.
"The wireless marketplace will be more competitive," AT&T claims in the filing. For those keeping score, the phone company is actually saying that consumers will gain more choice among mobile phone carriers by subtracting T-Mobile from your options.
Gobbling up T-Mobile's 34 million users and absorbing their workforce will "create new jobs and economic growth," AT&T adds. Never mind the tens of thousands of T-Mobile technicians, customer-service reps and storefront salespeople to be "made redundant" soon after the deal goes through.
Such AT&T mythmaking is part of its shameless campaign to convince Washington that the takeover of T-Mobile would be harmless.
It's now left to Congress, the FCC and the Department of Justice to sort fact from fiction and decide whether the runaway consolidation of America's mobile phone sector is in the interest of the American people.
AT&T has already hired an army of lobbyists to make its case. Next Wednesday, they're marching before the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee to woo support for this disastrous deal from our elected officials -- many of whom receive handsome campaign contributions from... that's right... AT&T.
The Los Angeles Times is not alone in its appraisal of the deal. The word from Wall Street to Main Street is that allowing such runaway consolidation of the mobile sector is pure craziness. T-Mobile customers, who stand to have AT&T jack up their rates more than 20 percent are already raising a stink at the FCC, which recently opened a docket for the public to comment on the proposed merger.
The truth is that consolidation of the scale being proposed by AT&T resembles the old railroad and oil trusts of the 19th century. It seems unthinkable to suggest that turning one of the economy's most innovative and important sectors into Standard Oil would be good for any of us. But that's pretty much how AT&T adds things up.
And with tens of millions of Americans relying on smarter iPhones, Android systems and Blackberry's to do what we want to do, go where we want to go, and say what we want to say, the impact of this merger would be felt dearly.
So should it be left to Washington and one exceedingly powerful company to decide the fate of our communications? (If you're thinking "no," you can help stop this merger by contacting the members of the Antitrust Subcommittee and urging them to grill AT&T next Wednesday.)
If Congress, the FCC and Department of Justice hear from enough people like you and me, they can muster the courage to ask the right questions of AT&T.
Next Wednesday's hearing on the Hill is our first chance to expose this merger for the nightmare that it is, and save our smartphones from following AT&T down the rabbit hole.
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