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Telecom Heavyweight Merger Rings in Support for Small Businesses

The marriage of two telecom heavyweights will benefit the smaller companies as well, a small business advocacy group said today. By expanding the combined broadband network to reach more than 97 percent of the population, the planned $39 billion merger between AT&T and T-Mobile will help small businesses grow and create jobs.

The support from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) is based on the proposed merger's implications for increased innovation, investment, competition and usage of mobile broadband technologies that will greatly benefit the economy and entrepreneurship.

The use of mobile apps has led to significant cost savings and greater opportunities for small business sales and revenue growth, according a recent SBE Council study. The study estimated that small businesses are saving almost 1.1 billion hours annually by using mobile apps.

"The time savings derived from the use of mobile apps among small businesses is impressive," said Raymond Keating, the SBE Council chief economist. "Those hours saved, of course, translate into dollars saved. Small business employee hours saved, for example, are worth an estimated $17.6 billion each year, under conservative assumptions. If all small businesses were to take advantage of mobile apps, annual owner hours saved could reach an estimated 1.2 billion, with employee hours saved hitting a projected 2.34 billion. The 2.34 billion employee hours potentially saved are valued at $56.9 billion annually."

In its endorsement of the proposed merger, the SBE Council said that by expanding AT&T's network to reach more than 97 percent of the population, more small businesses will have the opportunity to use mobile applications and other broadband tools to improve business operations, retain existing customers and attract new ones.

"Businesses without access to broadband are at a real disadvantage in a world that gets more competitive every day," said Karen Kerrigan, SBE Council president. "Along with hundreds of small businesses from across the country who have filed in support of the merger, SBE Council agrees that the combined assets of AT&T and T-Mobile will allow for the expansion of an advanced, high-quality network which will allow for businesses to stay competitive and economically viable."

The SBE Council is not alone in its support for the merger. Other business groups from outside the tech industry, such as the State Chamber of Oklahoma and Jobs for New England Now, have expressed support, as well as groups including the NAACP, AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, Sierra Club and the National Education Association.