Blog: US operators taciturn on Trump travel ban - Mobile World Live

Blog: US operators taciturn on Trump travel ban

30 JAN 2017

While the world’s largest technology companies have been swift in condemning President Trump’s recent travel ban, which prohibits people from seven predominantly Muslim countries entering the US, the country’s four largest telecoms operators have remained eerily tight-lipped on the issue.

At the time of writing, there have not yet been any official statements released by messrs McAdam, Stephenson, the ever outspoken Legere, or Claure over the controversial action put into effect by the new President on 27 January.

The response from Silicon Valley was notably different.

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai slammed the move in a note to employees on Friday, stating more than 100 of the company’s own staff had been affected.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg followed, stating his concern over the policy, as did Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky went so far as to offer free accommodation to refugees and anyone not allowed into the US as a result of the move.

Despite the widespread condemnation, there have been no official statements from the US mobile big boys.

Of course, all the technology companies in question are international players, while the operators are largely domestic and perhaps have more of a vested interest in keeping the new president on side.

Indeed, all four operators welcomed the arrival of Trump and the appointment of Ajit Pai, the new FCC chairman.

It is widely thought the new Trump administration will be more open to consolidation in the market, while both the new president and FCC chairman are known opponents to the country’s net neutrality rules imposed in 2015. Last week, AT&T chairman and CEO Stephenson praised Trump’s plans to lower corporate tax in the country, which he said could further stimulate investment in the US.

For AT&T, its heavy investment in Mexico could also be a point of contention in the near future, given Trump’s opinion of US companies’ investing in the market, not to mention “the wall”.

Industry issues aside, Trump’s most controversial move since taking office two weeks ago is causing widespread uproar across the world, with protests taking place inside and outside the US.

It arguably cannot be good for the reputation of all four operators to shy away from the issue, particularly with the technology community making their opinions perfectly clear.

Mobile World Live reached out for comment from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US and Sprint, and is awaiting a response.

The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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