WASHINGTON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Federal Communications
Commission chair Jessica Rosenworcel on Friday circulated an
order among the commissioners to approve Verizon Communications'
more than $6 billion proposed acquisition of TracFone
Wireless, a document showed.
Rosenworcel's proposed approval order comes after the
California Public Utilities Commission said Thursday it approved
the deal after Verizon agreed to some additional consumer
protection conditions. Verizon said in September 2020 it would
buy pre-paid mobile phones provider TracFone, a unit of Mexican
telecom company America Movil, in a cash and stock
deal worth up to $6.9 billion.
Sources told Reuters the deal could be approved by the
four-member FCC as soon as later on Friday.
Under the agreement with the California regulator, TracFone
or Verizon must participate in a U.S. program providing
subsidized wireless service for low-income consumers for 20
The deal was approved by the Justice Department in late 2020.
TracFone is one of the largest providers of
telecommunications services under the government subsidy program
known as Lifeline with around 1.7 million low-income subscribers
in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Verizon officials held two days https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/111863219345/Verizon%20Ex%20Parte%20(11.18.21)-c3.pdf
of meetings with the FCC this week on the deal. Verizon said on
Friday it had committed "to participate in the Lifeline program
for at least seven years."
It also told the FCC it will offer existing TracFone
Lifeline rate plans for at least three years. Verizon agreed to
retain an internal company compliance officer and independent
compliance officer to monitor compliance with these commitments
for more than seven years.
Under the California agreement, TracFone must enroll at
least 200,000 Lifeline subscribers in the state by the end of
2025. TracFone or Verizon must offer Lifeline customers a phone
at no cost after the first year of the merger.
TracFone serves about 21 million customers. Verizon is the
largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers.
Lifeline in total provides 9.1 million Americans with free
or discounted broadband and voice services.
(Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Marguerita Choy)