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posted by janrinok on Wednesday November 24, @09:46AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the big-bets dept.

Verizon completes Tracfone acquisition after FCC approval:

Verizon on Tuesday said it had completed its acquisition of prepaid mobile company Tracfone, just a day after the US Federal Communications Commission voted to approve the $6 billion deal. Verizon announced the acquisition in September, pending the regulatory approval that finally came this week.

[...] When the deal was announced, Verizon's CEO Hans Vestberg tweeted that the company was excited to "put the full support of Verizon behind this business." It's another big investment from the wireless carrier, following Verizon's spending $53 billion on radio airwaves this March.

[...] The FCC's approval came with a long list of "binding conditions to address potential harms and to ensure the transaction will be in the public interest," according to an FCC press release. Those conditions are largely centered on keeping Tracfone's products and services accessible and affordable for low-income consumers and ensuring Tracfone's existing customers don't get left behind in the transition.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by weilawei on Wednesday November 24, @03:18PM (3 children)

    by weilawei (109) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @03:18PM (#1199212) Homepage

    The FCC's approval came with a long list of "binding conditions to address potential harms and to ensure the transaction will be in the public interest," which will never actually be met or complied with.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @03:51PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @03:51PM (#1199218)

      Indeed. I wonder how long it will be before those Tracfone customers who currently use the AT&T network will be forced to move to Verizon's instead.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:41PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:41PM (#1199241)

        I wonder how long it will be before those Tracfone customers who currently use the AT&T network will be forced to move to Verizon's instead.

        Probably as quickly as Verizon can move them to their own network. Why pay AT&T the inflated charges each charge their customers when they only have to pay the extremely low cost it actually requires to provide the service themselves.

        This has been the standard phone company playbook since forever. Their internal costs for carrying voice traffic was fractional cents per minute, even back when they charged everyone 75 cents per minute to call from New York to Los Angeles. That's why phone service was so profitable and they could afford to pay for things like Bell Labs. Charging the customer 75 cents per minute for something that actually cost 1/10 cent per minute to transmit meant huge profits.

        I had a tracfone very early on (circa 2004 or so). Their charges then were the equivalent of 25 cents per minute, and while the "minutes did not expire" one had to buy a refill card on a periodic basis (monthly or yearly depending on card) to "maintain" the minutes, So if one was a low usage user, one paid extra to not have one's minutes expire, and if one was a heavy talker, one paid a nice premium for the minutes one was using.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday November 24, @06:42PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @06:42PM (#1199270) Journal

      The FCC's approval came with a long list of "binding conditions [...] which will never actually be met or complied with.

      I'm sure the FCC will deal with noncompliance with the same force and vigor with which they deal with phone companies receiving large amounts of public money to build infrastructure which is then never built. Never even started.

      --
      This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
  • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday November 25, @01:21AM (1 child)

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday November 25, @01:21AM (#1199399)

    I've used Tracfone since 2016 and I've been satisfied with it. Mind you, I use it primarily as a phone, I do my "computing" with a PC. I'm leery of Verizon taking over, but on the other hand, I've developed a deep personal grudge against AT&T for the way they treated me with DSL. Was an AT&T DSL customer since 2004, a dial-up customer before that. This past July I had another major outage, the third one this year. This time they jerked me around for almost a month, with constant promises it would be up the next day. Sometimes it was, but within a few hours it would go down again. Finally I called Spectrum (that's how desperate I was!) and they hooked me up the next day with much faster internet (oh yeah, I never got close to promised speed with AT&T) and no service interruptions since then. When I called AT&T to cancel, I expected the usual spiel in an attempt to retain my business, but instead they immediately canceled me with the warning that I would never be able to get DSL again. It struck me then that they were never going to repair my service, they had hoped to string me along until they had their 5G or whatever set up in my neighborhood and then try to force me to use that. They still have utility crews working constantly in the area, so I would probably still be waiting.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, @01:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, @01:47AM (#1199403)

      I could see it going either way, but I don't think Verizon wants to change much, at least at first. This is their only real way of expanding their user base when almost everyone already has a cell phone provider.

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