WBEZ | AT&T http://www.wbez.org/tags/att Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en U.S. files suit to block AT&T and T-Mobile merger http://www.wbez.org/story/us-files-suit-block-att-and-t-mobile-merger-91320 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-31/Cell Phone User_Getty_Joe Raedle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Justice Department filed suit Wednesday to block AT&amp;T's $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA on grounds that it would raise prices for consumers.</p><p>The government contends that the acquisition of the No. 4 wireless carrier in the country by No. 2 AT&amp;T would reduce competition.</p><p>At a news conference, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the combination would result in "tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for mobile wireless services."</p><p>The lawsuit seeks to ensure that everyone can continue to receive the benefits of competition, said Cole.</p><p>AT&amp;T said it would fight the lawsuit, announcing that it plans to ask for an expedited court hearing "so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed."</p><p>The Justice Department "has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive effects, and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court," said the AT&amp;T statement.</p><p>Four nationwide providers account for more than 90 percent of mobile wireless connections — Verizon, AT&amp;T, T-Mobile and Sprint.</p><p>T-Mobile has been an important source of competition, including through innovation and quality enhancements such as the roll-out of the first nationwide high-speed data network, Sharis Pozen, acting chief of Justice's antitrust division, said at the news conference.</p><p>Mobile wireless telecom services play an increasing role in day-to-day communications, with more than 300 million smart phones, data cards, tablets and other mobile wireless devices in use.</p><p>Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile, had no immediate comment.</p><p>AT&amp;T and T-Mobile compete nationwide, in 97 of the largest 100 cellular marketing areas, according to the government lawsuit which was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington.</p><p>The lawsuit says AT&amp;T's acquisition of T-Mobile would eliminate a company that has been a competitive factor through low pricing and innovation.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 31 Aug 2011 16:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/us-files-suit-block-att-and-t-mobile-merger-91320 Chicago T-Mobile customers worry about AT&T deal http://www.wbez.org/story/acquisitions/chicago-t-mobile-customers-worry-about-att-deal-84037 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/4481260580_86a004cd27_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago customers of T-Mobile, like Jovan and Arthur Spence, are digesting the news that AT&amp;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&rsquo;re not happy about becoming customers of AT&amp;T. <br /><br />&quot;Why are they trying to buy it?&quot; Jovan Spence said with a laugh. &quot;They already got everybody else.&quot;<br /><br />That&rsquo;s been part of the allure of T-Mobile &ndash; supporting the underdog. Another draw has been price. <br /><br />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.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />&quot;The likelihood is that we will see prices rise, and that&rsquo;s where we all lose out of this deal,&quot; Roberson said. <br /><br />AT&amp;T disputes that, saying there&rsquo;s plenty of competition. But Arthur Spence said this will be yet another assault on his wallet. <br /><br />&quot;They&rsquo;re already hitting us at the gas pumps, so now they&rsquo;re going to hit us on our cell phones,&quot; Spence said. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s not a done deal. The acquisition still has to clear a lot of regulatory hurdles. <br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 20:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/acquisitions/chicago-t-mobile-customers-worry-about-att-deal-84037 CUB: AT&T customers should avoid costly rate hikes http://www.wbez.org/story/att/cub-att-customers-should-avoid-costly-rate-hikes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Phone.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>AT&amp;T's recent $3 rate hike for home phone users has caught the attention of a utility watchdog group that says consumers shouldn't have to pay more. Jim Chilsen is a spokesman for the Illinois Citizens Utility Board. He said Illinois has safeguarded options to protect customers from overpaying.</p> <div>&ldquo;The consumer&rsquo;s choice plans actually include the line charge and their prices are frozen, and that is the line charge that&rsquo;s going up,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So by going with the consumer&rsquo;s choice plans you&rsquo;re actually protected from these rate hikes.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The watchdog group recommends customers choose one of three Consumer Choice plans to avoid costly rate increases. The plans are subject to a legislative rate freeze that mandates prices on the plans stay fixed through 2012. AT&amp;T said in a statement that despite recent rate increases, Chicago still has one of the lowest phone rates in the nation.</div></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 19:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/att/cub-att-customers-should-avoid-costly-rate-hikes