By Media Alliance
On Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at Fresno City Hall, the California Public Utilities Commission will hold a public participation hearing on the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. This is the only public hearing scheduled for the northern part of the state. Parties are set to come from Sacramento and the Bay Area.
The purpose of the hearing is to gather public input regarding the planned merger. Your independent voice is much needed.
This merger has significant economic justice issues, especially in the prepaid phone market, where market leaders PCS Metro (T-Mobile) and Boost (Sprint) would become one, leading to a market share of 60%. That will inevitably lead to higher prices, tighten credit requirements and make it harder, if not completely impossible, for people with poor credit and limited cash flow to use smartphones. Statistics show the merger will disproportionately affect poor people and people of color.
The important things for the commissioners to hear—from people that aren’t paid to be there—are the importance of people’s phones to them, why they are in the prepaid market and the difficulties it might cause to face a substantial price increase with few alternatives.