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FCC Approves Verizon-Tracfone Acquisition, Demanding 'Strong' Consumer Protections

Accepted submission by upstart at 2021-11-23 00:34:30

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FCC approves Verizon-Tracfone acquisition, demanding 'strong' consumer protections []:

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Monday to approve Verizon's $6 billion bid for prepaid mobile company Tracfone []. Verizon announced the acquisition back 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.

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However, 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 around 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. The FCC said Verizon will have to maintain existing packages and guarantee affordable 5G products and services to Tracfone customers, among other conditions.

Verizon will be required to report regularly on these conditions and submit to oversight for more than seven years. The FCC's announcement says that Verizon is required to report semiannually on its compliance for the next seven years. The company will also have to "retain both an internal company compliance officer and an independent compliance officer to ensure compliance with these commitments for seven and a half years," according to the FCC's approval letter.

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