NAACP Statement on Announced Acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T

Mar 23, 2011, 09:33 ET from National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the announcement that AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued the following statement:

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) views AT&T's announced acquisition of T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom as potentially benefiting communities, consumers and workers alike.

Since the inception of the NAACP's Economic Reciprocity Initiative (ERI), where major industries are graded, AT&T has been among the highest ranked in the telecommunications industry for its commitment to diversity in terms of procurement, philanthropy, promotion and hiring at the local, state and national level. Other industry authorities such as Diversity Magazine, Black Enterprises, and Fortune Magazine have also given the company impressive marks. We also recognize that T-Mobile has consistently not done as well in our rating process. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, we are cautiously optimistic that AT&T's proven record and proposed commitment will truly benefit the acquired company's consumers, minority vendors and workers.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the African-American consumer market is projected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2012. It is the NAACP policy to encourage its constituents to spend wisely and have readily available information to be assured that those we do business with are reinvesting in our communities. It is equally important that these businesses employ a diverse work force, utilize racial and ethnic minority vendors, while supporting and demonstrating civil rights expansion and protections for all Americans.

We note that AT&T is the only major U.S. wireless company with a union workforce, offering leading wages, benefits, training and professional development for its employees. As such, AT&T has received support for the acquisition from both the Communication Workers of America and the AFL-CIO. Organized labor has long been a strong ally of the NAACP, so we share the concerns and aspirations of our unionized members and coalition partners employed by AT&T who support this acquisition. Based on AT&T's commitment to expand its high speed wireless technology to 294 million Americans or 95% of the U.S. population, including rural and smaller communities, this acquisition has the tremendous potential of dramatically reducing the economic and technological barriers that exist in under-served rural and low-income urban areas.

Wireless broadband is an integral tool in promoting civic engagement and as such is crucial to voter empowerment. We are hopeful that this acquisition will also further advance increased access to affordable and sustainable wireless broadband services and in turn stimulate job creation throughout our country.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots based civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

SOURCE National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)