Consumer Reports’ publisher sees no ‘justification or benefits’ from AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA

Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports today urged federal regulators to take a hard look at the potential harm to consumers and competition from AT&T’s proposal to buy T-Mobile USA.

Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in a press release, “AT&T is already a giant in the wireless marketplace, where customers routinely complain about hidden charges and other anti-consumer practices. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s difficult to come up with any justification or benefits from letting AT&T swallow up one of its few major competitors. We plan to work very closely with regulators and lawmakers to scrutinize this deal and what it would mean to people’s pocketbooks.”

Source: Consumers Union

MacDailyNews Note: MacDailyNews does not recommend subscribing to Consumer Reports due to their questionable testing procedures, conclusions, and recommendations regarding Apple products.

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39 Comments

  1. If Consumer Reports is against the merger maybe it is a good idea. It should improve coverage in areas like LA where getting a new tower is near impossible because of the NIMBYs.

      1. Kesem, iBagwan, etc: could you please elaborate on what specifically in this press release Consumer Union got wrong? Just because the electronics testing department of Consumer Reports isn’t always up-to-speed doesn’t mean that the fundamental mission, or the fundamentals of this issue, are to be dismissed so lightly. Back up your hate with facts, then we’ll be able to discuss the merits of Consumer Union.

        just because your quantitative rating system doesn’t match up with CR’s doesn’t mean that the publication or the group behind it doesn’t provide some meaningful data for everyone — it means you have to re-weight data for your personal value calculation.

        Overall, CR has actually been very good to Apple. Regarding the recent iPhone 4 publicity, it’s not as if it’s affected Apple at all. At the very least, Apple should have learned how to better correct its image in the face of iPhone 4 criticism — if Apple had acted on the perceptions/complaints early, then CR wuld likely not have been there to echo/amplify the reception issue. As it was, Apple followed through with a solution that mitigated the perceived problem just fine. And though CR – or any testing house – hasn’t definitively been able to show what share of the problem is due to the network, most users now understand that, though the device isn’t perfect, it’s as good as just about anything else out there, rubber band or not. Can’t say as much on the network, though it looks like this will change soon. How come you guys aren’t criticizing CR on its testing of mobile networks?

        1. Man Mike, I swear I had the best intentions to respond to your post but…. There is such a wealth of information showing how biased CR is against the iPhone and iPad that I just don’t have the time to prove it to you. Yes, CR has been very fair to Apple but all of sudden things changed when the iPhone started to gain traction. I can only guess why or who CR is trying to please. All you have to do is check out the tech blogs or search CR iphone ipad bias. You will get a ton of information and its just too time consuming because there is so much evidence. Most of the tech sites I go to are now making fun of the situation so it’s a meme now. Like anything in these forums, I know what I know and it’s not really necessary for me to try to convince others.

  2. Consumers Union is an advocacy group and thus quite political in nature. There is nothing wrong with that, but in their reviews of products they should disclose that they are driven by an advocacy agenda when they review products and I believe that’s why you see certain brand names favored over others. Even if there reviews are unbiased, they should disclose their positions at every review…. Hmmm or… maybe I should just not read it 😉

    1. Consumer Reports rag Apple for one reason only: the attempt to garner hits on their website and hopefully any attention for their blasé reviews. All written words have an editorial bias to them, unless they’re written by androids or Al Franken. (hope that’s not redundant.)

      1. @Botvinnik

        Both androids and Al Franken have been programmed.

        Maybe something written by a chimp wouldn’t have biases, at least not “left” or “right” as we know it.

        Ah, but then maybe a right-handed chimp would write something different than what a lefty would…

  3. MacDailyNews does not recommend subscribing to Consumer Reports because they had the audacity to criticize Apple. Therefor they are automatically incompetent and biased.

    1. No, MDN doesn’t recommend subscribing to Consumer Reports because they fail to recommend both iPhone 4s over “attenuation issues”, while other, non-Apple smartphones are happily recommended by CR despite having some very real attenuation issues.

      The problem is that they’re singling out and bashing Apple, and I can think of no other reason than they’re being bribed to or have a vendetta. If they were raking all smartphones over the coals for attenuation, then fine, that’s one thing. But they aren’t. Even their own readers recommend the iPhone 4, but CR refuses to no matter what. Doesn’t that tell you anything?

  4. Reason why AT&T might want to buy them is because they have a 4G network out, or what they are trumping as 4G. So instead of AT&T taking the time to build a 4G network, they will just buy a network that is already started. Plus if T-Mobile has any towers out there, AT&T can get more coverage if T-Mobile has towers in places AT&T doesn’t at the moment..

  5. The justification is that DT wanted to sell or partner with another TelCo and AT&T gets a better footprint for coverage and spectrum that is scarce.
    If Consumers Union is so concerned, let them borrow $39 Billion and buy it.

  6. How about this justification:

    Few providers = more spectrum for the survivors.

    More spectrum = better networks

    Better networks = happier customers

  7. Is Consumers Union and Consumer Reports going off the deep end where they clearly do not belong or is someone there closely related to Steve Ballmer or someone at RIMM?

    Give it a break oh clueless ones. This has nothing to do with you. There merger will not damage what they are only give them a chance to make something better from each other’s resources.

    AT&T is not Apple. Go work on doing your job better evaluating existing products and services. Not molding the future ones into something you may like better.

  8. Okay, I agree that CR’s testing methods can leave a lot to be desired. But first, Bubba, what is their advocacy agenda exactly? Please detail. Thanks. Second, I think they are right about this merger. Does anyone really disagree that it removes a competitor from the market and concentrates their market for a service that is not open to just anyone entering. On first read, I believe it is a bad thing.

  9. This is only good for AT&T. In this case, CR is correct. Less competition is always bad for the consumer. Especially when it comes to the Telco’s, who have a history of ripping people off to begin with.

  10. AT&T is rolling out their own 4G network (HSPA+) but the LTE version of 4G (which T-Mobile has) is superior and easier to deploy. This is huge for AT&T. T-Mobile is not bad but it is time to grow up in the wireless world.

    Verizon is looking worried.

  11. Lots of kids lstill living at home don’t have the historical perspective to understand how bad even a near monopoly on the market this deal will do to the consumer. It was just 30 years or so ago that the Gov’t was FORCED to step in and break up Ma Bell and they pretty much are right back to where they were before with this deal.

    If CR was not raising this concern then someone else would or should be. It was the VERY first thing I thought of when I saw the story a few days ago. Get ready to take it in the a$$ because prices for cellular will skyrocket.

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