Californians to Speak Out in Los Angeles Against T-Mobile/Sprint Merger
LOS ANGELES — This evening in Los Angeles, the California Public Utilities Commission is hosting a public hearing to consider T-Mobile’s plan to merge with Sprint. If approved, the merger would join two of the state’s most affordable cellphone providers and lead to more than 28,000 job losses nationwide, including more than 3,000 in California.
Californians—especially people of color living on lower incomes—don’t want fewer choices, higher cellphone bills and worse customer service. "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," said Adrian Martinez, Membership Organizer at the Center for Media Justice and Los Angeles resident, who will be among the advocates speaking at this evening's hearing. [Read the full text of Adrian's statement here].
Nearly 10,000 people across the state have signed petitions also asking the CPUC to reject the deal. Signatures were collected by advocacy organizations including the Center for Media Justice, Common Cause, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and Free Press.
What: California Public Utilities Commission hearing
When: Wed., Jan. 16, at 7 p.m.
Where: Junipero Serra State Building, Carmel Room, 320 West 4th St., Los Angeles
Press Contact: Imran Siddiquee, (217) 390-6279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Having a cellphone isn’t a luxury for Californians,” said Free Press Campaign Manager Nilda Muhr. “Rejecting this merger is the only way to keep wireless prices low and provide equitable access to communications for everyone across the state. People need to speak up in L.A. and tell the California Public Utilities Commission to reject this deal. Approving it would disconnect the communities that need affordable wireless service the most.”
"When it comes to communities of color in California, T-Mobile doesn't have us covered,” said Erin Shields, national field organizer for the Center for Media Justice. “Though we make up a majority of their customers, the proposed merger with Sprint disregards the needs of people of color, especially those living on lower incomes, in favor of profits for these already massive corporations. This mega-merger will almost certainly mean higher bills and less access to the essential services communities of color rely on to survive. The California Public Utilities Commission must step in now to avoid further exacerbating the racial digital divide in this state — and nationally.”
“This merger is designed to line the pockets of telecom executives and shareholders at the expense of both their employees and their customers,” said Demand Progress Campaigner Tihi Hayslett. “Low-income and vulnerable communities are going to be especially hard hit, which is why Demand Progress activists are resolute in saying no to this mega-merger."
“Californians will see no benefits from a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. They can expect to see higher prices and fewer choices for wireless service,” said Common Cause Media and Democracy Program Director Yosef Getachew. “The merger would particularly harm low-income people, communities of color and other marginalized communities in California who rely on T-Mobile and Sprint for more affordable communication services. Our democracy depends on all Americans having access to robust and affordable wireless voice and broadband services in order to fully participate in a 21st-century society. There are no benefits to the public interest in a marketplace where Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are allowed to call all of the shots.”
Launched in 2009, the Center for Media Justice fights for racial and economic equity in a digital age.