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  #1  
Old 10-30-2007, 11:02 PM
BobPi BobPi is offline
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Cell phone companies and politics

I'm thinking of switching my cell phone company, and one of the factors I'd like to consider is their political involvement. I haven't had much luck researching this. I think I've heard Verizon is a big contributor to politicians on the left, and I vaguely recall hearing that Cingular gave money to liberals, but that was long before they were bought by AT&T. Does anyone know about the current state of affairs?
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:56 AM
AZCowboy AZCowboy is offline
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In my humble opinion, that is an odd criteria to use to choose a cell phone company. Generally, I might recommend choosing a company that provides good coverage where you are most likely to be using the phone. Asking neighbors and/or co-workers about coverage and dropped calls is a place to start.

But that wasn't what you asked. First, let's make sure you understand that Verizon isn't a wireless company, but a local and long distance "wireline" company. Through a joint venture, they are majority owners of Verizon Wireless, along with Vodafone (a UK wireless company).

Cingular doesn't exist anymore, it is now AT&T Mobility, which is wholly owned by AT&T.

Nextel is now part of Sprint, a US-based company primarily focused on wireless services.

The only other major player in the US is T Mobile, and they are owned by Deutsche Telecom, based in Germany.

Something less than a tenth of penny of any dollar of revenue for these companies finds its way to the campaign coffers of politicians.

Like most any corporation, their political contributions tend to serve their own interests, and therefore may swing between parties over time, or be targeted to specific individuals regardless of party affiliation. Over the past couple of elections, Republicans have tended to receive more of than half of communications companies political contributions. All of those contributions are intended to curry favor on issues specifically related to the regulations facing the industry.

For a party breakdown by company of contributions to Political Action Committees in 2006, see this reference by the Center For Responsive Politics.

You can investigate individual contributions by searching for contributions made by the top officers of those corporations at the same site, opensecrets.org.

Good luck in your decision-making.
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Old 10-31-2007, 09:13 AM
wevets wevets is offline
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I would just like to note that it is very unlikely that telecommunications companies donate money to politicians for ideological reasons.

They want a return on their political investment - generally in the form of laws that favor the telecom companies over, say, their consumers. For example, restricting the phone to use with just one company is an issue. Another issue is legal immunity for cell phone companies from lawsuits stemming from the distribution of customer records to security agencies without a warrent or court order.

I hope you can find a company that meets your needs and desires.
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