Welcome!

Symbian Authors: Jack Newton, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, Shelly Palmer, RealWire News Distribution

News Feed Item

California Leaders and Consumer Activists Call upon CPUC for Greater Oversight and Accountability of Industry Practices and Mergers

Legislation will aim at protecting working families from predatory practices

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today at the steps of the California State Capitol, Senator Kevin De Leon, Senator Ricardo Lara, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Das Williams, and representatives from TURN and Consumer Federation of California joined the leaders of the movement – Two Counties One Voice – by calling for more government oversight on mergers that could harm millions of underserved Californians.  Two Countries One Voice is dedicated to exposing the predatory, monopolistic practices of Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.  Recently, Slim zeroed in on California when one of his telecommunications' companies, TracFone, acquired California-based Simple Mobile without any public hearings or review by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  Prepaid mobile providers like TracFone and Simple Mobile largely serve immigrant and working families. 

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.  

"Carlos Slim is taking the model he created in Mexico that was built on the backs of the poor, charging excessively high prices and providing inadequate services, and he's expanding that model into California, the U.S., and across Latin America," said Juan Jose Gutierrez, one of the leaders of Two Countries One Voice and the President of Vamos Unidos USA.  "We're here today to shine a glaring light on the damage that such practices have on a country and its people.  We demand more oversight and protection here in California."

Senator Kevin De Leon and Senator Ricardo Lara wrote a letter to CPUC Chairman Michael Peevey calling for action and a full investigation during CPUC's upcoming evidentiary hearings from December 12-14, 2012.  Senators De Leon and Lara also announced they will be introducing 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's in the best interest of the public.  

"As we become more reliant on cell phones and digital technology for every day life, we need to ensure that all consumers – especially underserved communities – are protected," said Senator De Leon.  "Our legislation is aimed at providing better protections for working families by requiring proper government oversight and rigorous review by the CPUC."

"We will not stand by quietly while hard-working Californians spend their honest-earned money on excessive charges associated with something that most of us take for granted: making a simple phone call," said Senator Ricardo Lara.  

When TracFone purchased Simple Mobile in June 2012, the CPUC did not require hearings or scrutiny of Slim's acquisition.  The current law does not require the CPUC to hold hearings on all mergers 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 pay its share of the public services fee that funds California's programs for the poor.  By some conservative estimates, TracFone may be liable for $13 million in unpaid fees and additional penalties to the CPUC

"We have been watching Carlos Slim gobble up company after company – growing his empire at the expense of struggling families" said Andres Ramirez, one of the leaders of Two Countries One Voice.  "And today, we are joined by others who see this injustice and are committed to speaking up for those without a voice."

"It is important that we empower the CPUC to hold public hearings and engage in rigorous reviews of mergers that may impact consumers' rates and access to reliable services," said Richard Holober, Executive Director of Consumer Federation of California.  "Especially with companies with questionable customer service records, we must ensure our government provides protections to underserved communities with less access to digital services."

BACKGROUND:  Carlos Slim's power and fortune is made up primarily from his monopoly on the Mexican telecommunications system.  According to the independent and highly respected Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Slim's company, America Movil, which controls nearly 80 percent of the total Mexican telecom, cell and internet industries, charges exorbitant prices and provides inadequate services.  Their 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.

The impact of Carlos Slim's monopoly has resulted in Mexico ranking LAST in public investment in telecommunications compared with the 33 other OECD countries while Slim's company Telemex had a profit margin of 47 percent – one of the highest profit margins of companies within the OECD countries.

SOURCE Two Countries One Voice

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...