The No Takeover Project, a non-profit that seeks to kill the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA counts as members the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), Council for Public Knowledge and Future of Music, among others, today released a survey that it says overwhelmingly shows that cellular customers oppose and AT&T/T-Mobile deal.
While compelling, a close look at the results of the online survey that polled a swath of 1,000 cellular customers from across the country on different carriers appears to be more a split decision, with some consumers changing their attitude towards the deal once they were informed about it.
“Not a whole lot of people really know that the deal is out there and the impact of the merger,” Steve Berry, CEO of the RCA, said in a press call today.
That seems to be the gist of it; consumers just simply are not aware of the deal. According to the survey, just 29 percent of wireless consumers know that AT&T is trying to take over T-Mobile, while 71 percent are unaware of the details of the proposed deal.
On the whole, T-Mobile customers appeared to be more aware of the deal than the overall group of consumers. Fully 52 percent of T-Mobile customers know AT&T is trying to take over their provider, and they don’t like it.
The No Takeover Project writes in a press release that it is because of their ignorance of the deal that wireless consumers nominally support the deal, with 45 percent in support, 24 percent opposed, and a full 31 percent undecided or harboring no opinion.
AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers were decidedly split on the merger of their respective companies; 62 percent support the deal and 14 percent oppose it. Conversely, most T-Mobile customers oppose the takeover, with 46 percent in opposition and 40 percent in support.
The RCA, as well as the No Takeover Project and many others contend that approval of the deal would have dire consequences.
Berry called the deal “too big, too dangerous,” adding that there is no set of conditions that are going to somehow make this work or make it better. Berry said that a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile would limit competition across the industry, reduce consumer choice, drive competitive carriers out of business and leave little choice of backhaul providers.
The survey used two statements, one for the deal and one against the deal to measure respondents’ change in opinion once they’d heard arguments for and against the deal.
The argument in favor:
Jones supports the proposed AT&T purchase of T-Mobile because the two companies have compatible network technology, meaning their customers would be able to immediately take advantage of improved service and quality on an expanded network. The proposed merger would also enable AT&T to more quickly expand its coverage to include 95% of all Americans, providing more people with access to high speed mobile broadband services.
The argument against:
Smith opposes the proposed AT&T purchase of T-Mobile because it would result in less competition and higher wireless prices for all consumers. If this sale were approved, AT&T and Verizon Wireless together would control almost 80% of all wireless revenues. Smith believes this concentration of power would negatively affect all wireless consumers as the companies would have a greater ability to increase prices, limit choice, decrease quality and stifle innovation.
On the whole, respondents became more opposed to the deal once they had heard both sides of the argument as framed by the No Takeover Project.
Berry responded to those on today’s call who objected to the conclusiveness of the survey, saying the results were a litmus that revealed an uninformed public as well as the sway of education on the matter. Check the full press release here for complete results of the poll.