AT&T Execs and Shareholders Should Pay $3 Billion “Merger Termination Fee”

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Did AT&T really think we’d fall for its broken record promises that the AT&T/T-Mobile merger would help consumers?

Just a few weeks after Consumer Watchdog wrote a letter urging regulators to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, the Department of Justice gave the AT&T merger a big thumbs down by filing a civil antitrust complaint challenging the deal.

AT&T agreed to pay T-Mobile a whopping $3 billion “termination fee” if the merger isn’t approved. AT&T probably figured they’d use this as a bargaining chip with the feds to get the deal done (“we’ll have to charge our customers $3 billion more if you don’t approve the merger”). Here’s an idea: AT&T’s CEO and shareholders should pay that fee out of their own pockets. They don’t seem to think twice about slapping early termination fees on unsuspecting customers. After the 2004 AT&T/Cingular merger, AT&T deliberately downgraded its network to the point that its customers’ cell phones became unusable. Customers who wanted out were hit with early termination fees of anywhere between $175 and $400. Maybe forcing AT&T’s greedy execs to pay the “merger termination fee” would make them think twice about pushing a merger which is not in the public interest.

DOJ’s move today marks the beginning of the end for AT&T’s proposed deal, which would have resulted in increased prices, degraded wireless service, and unexpected fees for many consumers throughout the country.

Consumer Watchdog applauded the Department of Justice today for filing a civil antitrust complaint to block the AT&T/T-Mobile Merger. Read about it here.

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