California regulators recommend approval of Verizon’s acquisition of Tracfone with conditions

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposed approval of Verizon’s acquisition of Tracfone with conditions. The proposed decision requires Verizon and TracFone to permanently participate in the California Lifeline program, have a minimum enrollment of 200,000 California Lifeline subscribers by June 30, 2023, requires Verizon to provide phones at no cost for some customers, provide 5G for Lifeline customer where available, and to prioritize TracFone’s Lifeline customers during their transition to Verizon. The CPUC commissioners will vote to approve the Proposed Decision on November 18, 2021.

In August, Verizon made critical commitments to continue offering TracFone’s current Lifeline-supported services for a minimum of 3 years following the close of the transaction, preserve quality services, maintain robust marketing, and more. These concessions, recommended by CWA and its public interest allies through multiple FCC filings, will ensure Verizon is held accountable to providing the same coverage and quality service for Lifeline customers for the same price they had as TracFone customers. Given these new commitments from Verizon, CWA, Public Knowledge, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Access Humboldt, and the California Center for Rural Policy withdrew their objections to the deal with the FCC.

Links:

CPUC Issues Proposal That Would Require Consumer Protections for Verizon’s Acquisition of TracFone (CPUC, Oct. 15, 2021)

CWA secures commitments to protect Lifeline customers in proposed Verizon-TracFone deal, withdraws objections with FCC (Speed Matters, Aug. 15, 2021)