Chicago T-Mobile customers worry about AT&T deal

AT&T's announcement that it plans to acquire T-Mobile has left customers worried that they'll wind up paying more

March 21, 2011

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(Flickr/Ahmed Shaikh)

Chicago customers of T-Mobile, like Jovan and Arthur Spence, are digesting the news that AT&T plans to swallow up their cell-phone provider. The Spences were heading into a T-Mobile shop in downtown Chicago earlier today. They said they’re not happy about becoming customers of AT&T.

"Why are they trying to buy it?" Jovan Spence said with a laugh. "They already got everybody else."

That’s been part of the allure of T-Mobile – supporting the underdog. Another draw has been price.

Dennis Roberson is vice provost at the Illinois Institute of Technology and used to be chief technology officer at Motorola. Roberson says even customers of rival carriers may wind up paying more.    

"The likelihood is that we will see prices rise, and that’s where we all lose out of this deal," Roberson said.

AT&T disputes that, saying there’s plenty of competition. But Arthur Spence said this will be yet another assault on his wallet.

"They’re already hitting us at the gas pumps, so now they’re going to hit us on our cell phones," Spence said.

It’s not a done deal. The acquisition still has to clear a lot of regulatory hurdles.