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VIDEO: Jennifer L. Pozner Discusses AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Defeat on “The Big Picture” with Thom Hartmann

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

December 21st, 2011

On Monday, I shared the happy news with you that the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger — which Women In Media & News and many other media activist organizations had actively opposed — was officially dead. And last night, I spent the first night of Chanukah on “The Big Picture” with Thom Hartmann, explaining how the festival of lights is actually a great metaphor for this media justice victory.

Watch the video here:

Had the merger gone through, AT&T and Verizon would have had duopolistic control over 80% of the cell phone market. But as I told Thom Hartmann:

“I don’t think we can have a better Chanukah present, or a better Christmas present for that matter, then the death of this merger deal. Chanukah metaphorically is the story of a small group of people triumphing over a large force trying to devastate their community. And that is sort of what happened with this merger. Our communities banned together and pushed back. And it was the power of the people raising their voices about the way that this would impact especially communities of color and low income communities for high costs of their cell phones, and for creating a digital divide–because most communities who access the internet primarily on their cell phones are people of color and low income people. And to give AT&T, which has been extremely shady in their practices, that much power over how we can get online, and what we can see online, and how we can tell our stories online or not, was hugely damaging–that was another reason the merger failed.”

My only regret about the segment** is that I didn’t have time to discuss a bit more about the financial background of AT&T’s failed $39 billion bid for T-Mobile. Part of AT&T’s rationale for the supposed necessity of the deal was their claim that they needed to merge with T-Mobile in order to be able to roll out broadband to 97% of Americans. (This is important for many reasons, not least of which is that there are mild net neutrality protections in place protecting broadband Internet users and content, but no such protections or regulations over Internet access or content online.) But AT&T’s own accidentally-leaked internal documents showed that by their own estimate, it would only cost them $3.8 billion to deliver broadband to 97% of Americans — which was less than the $4 billion payoff to T-Mobile as a consolation prize built into the merger proposal just in case the bid failed. Not to mention more than $35 billion less than the cost of T-Mobile. Oops. And, indeed, AT&T is now paying T-Mobile $3 billion in cash and $1 billion in spectrum, in the wake of the epic merger #FAIL. Which means that AT&T would have easily been able to deliver broadband to the majority of the country without ever even trying to merge. Now the corporation is out a cool four bill, and many AT&T customers remain without broadband throughout the country.

For more back story, and celebratory post-merger responses from Women In Media & News’s media justice allies who worked to oppose the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, see my announcement yesterday, “WIMN Celebrates Defeat of AT&T/T-Mobile Merger,” as well as:

Jamilah King, ColorLines: AT&T Drops Bid to Buy T-Mobile: Here’s Why You Should Be Happy (Also see King’s recent investigation–with helpful and stark infographics: “How Big Telecom Used Smartphones to Create a New Digital Divide”)

MAG-Net: “In the ‘Year of the Activist,’ Grassroots Organizations Score a Major Victory Against Corporations

Center for Media Justice: “CMJ Celebrates a Community Victory over AT&T’s Failed Attempt at Media Consolidation

Free Press: “AT&T Finally Abandons Doomed Merger with T-Mobile

Media Literacy Project: “Media Literacy Project celebrates AT&T dropping its bid to acquire T-Mobile

Main Street Project: “Main Street Project statement on the end of AT&T’s bid for T-Mobile USA

[[**What was my only other regret about the segment? Getting caught in the rain walking to the studio, hence unruly wet hair constantly falling in my face in the video… How’s that for a bloggy detail I wouldn’t usually share?]]

One Response to “VIDEO: Jennifer L. Pozner Discusses AT&T/T-Mobile Merger Defeat on “The Big Picture” with Thom Hartmann”

  1. Randal Bacy
    March 22nd, 2016 23:43

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