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Tom: Should consumers expect more deals like this? If so, how do we figure out which ones are good?

Mellody: I think you will continue to see new deals coming out of the industry as the players fight it out for market share, revenue and subscribers. We have heard that T-mobile and Dish are talking about a possible merger, which would create a company with similar capabilities as the new AT&T. If that happens, we could see a similar seamless phone-video plan. Outside of that, if AT&T’s plan gains momentum and converts, the pressure will be on competing companies to offer deals and perks to existing customers to keep them in the fold, which will benefit us. In terms of making sure that the benefits of these deals are not just short term, leaving you open to getting hit after an initial honeymoon period, it is critical that you make sure you know what you are getting into. I have said it before on Money Monday – you have to read the fine print – know what your contract says, the length of time involved, and ask about feels, overage charges, and the costs you will incur when it comes to things like new phones. In this period of competition, be willing to call your current company and ask for a better deal to match competitors. There are benefits to be had right now, you just have to take the time to know what is out there, and push back to take advantage of them.

Tom: Thanks for joining us this morning, Mellody.

Mellody: You are welcome, Tom!

Mellody is President of Ariel investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

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Money Mondays: What The AT&T/DirecTV Merger Means To You  was originally published on

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