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California Legislators and Consumer Activists Call upon CPUC for Greater Oversight and Accountability of Carlos Slim's TracFone

Slim's Empire Continues to Gobble Up Companies

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Tuesday, December 4, Senator Kevin De León, Senator Ricardo Lara, Assemblymember Das Williams, and representatives from the Consumer Federation of California and TURN will join the leaders of the movement Two Countries One Voice (TCOV).  The TCOV is dedicated to exposing the predatory and monopolistic practices of Carlos Slim.  They will call upon the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a full investigation of TracFone during the CPUC's upcoming evidentiary hearings from December 12-14.  Slim – the richest man in the world – and his conglomerate of telecommunications companies recently acquired Simple Mobile without hearings or formal review by the CPUC.  

Slim's company, TracFone, currently has a pre-paid cellular customer base that is larger than that of Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile's.  Now, with the acquisition of Simple Mobile, TracFone has 22 million customers nationwide – over 42 percent of the pre-paid cell phone market share – making it the LARGEST prepaid mobile provider.  

State Legislators will also discuss the introduction of legislation that will better protect working families by ensuring the CPUC has the authority and discretion to review all mergers – including pre-paid cell phone services – when it is in the best interest of the public. 

DATE:  Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TIME:  10AM PT (Please Note New Time)

WHERE:  California State Capitol 
North Steps (L Street side)

WHO:  Juan Jose Gutiérrez, Two Countries One Voice & President of Vamos Unidos USA
Andres Ramirez, Two Countries One Voice 
Senator Kevin De León
Senator Ricardo Lara
Assemblymember Das Williams 
Richard Holober, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of California 
Mark Toney, Executive Director, TURN 
Advocates from California Immigrant Policy Center

VISUAL:  Large inflatable Carlos Slim/Pac-Man

BACKGROUND:  Carlos Slim's power and fortune is made up primarily from his monopoly on the Mexican telecommunications system, which has overcharged billions of dollars to the Mexican people, especially to the rural poor.  The welfare loss Mexico has endured is estimated at $129 billion

According to the independent and highly respected Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), Slim's company, America Movil, which controls nearly 80 percent of the total Mexican cell and landlines, charges exorbitant prices and provides inadequate services.  OECD's report also shows that Slim has price-gouged Mexican customers billions of dollars for basic telephone and Internet service.  They point out that those specifically and most profoundly affected by these business practices are rural and poor communities. 

When Slim's company, TracFone, purchased California-based Simple Mobile in June 2012, the CPUC did not require hearings or scrutiny of the acquisition.  The law does not require the CPUC to hold hearings and is prescriptive as to when the CPUC may deem additional hearings necessary in the public interest.  

In the United States, Slim has four million TracFone customers participating in government phone assistance programs.  Slim has collected $10 per phone he provides to these consumers, totaling a minimum of $38 million in U.S. federal subsidies this year aloneYet, TracFone refuses to pay its share of the public services fee that funds California's programs for low income consumers.  By some conservative estimates, TracFone may be liable for $13 million in unpaid fees and additional penalties to the CPUC

SOURCE Two Countries One Voice

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