This week, a coalition of 17 attorneys general, led by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to further investigate Verizon’s proposed acquisition of TracFone. In a letter to the Commission, the attorneys general detailed how Verizon's acquisition of TracFone could negatively impact the Lifeline program, which provides a subsidy for communications services to millions of low-income consumers.
In a statement, CWA applauded the action by the attorneys general, emphasizing the need for further scrutiny on the proposed transaction to protect consumers.
"Verizon's acquisition of TracFone as it stands today could harm millions of low-income families during a pandemic," said CWA Senior Researcher Brian Thorn. "Now is certainly not the time to depend on the generosity of a corporation to continue providing communications services that millions of low-income Americans rely on. The FCC has a responsibility to step in and ask what Verizon will do to protect consumers from further consolidation of the wireless industry."
TracFone is the largest provider of Lifeline services nationally, with approximately 1.7 million low-income subscribers in 43 states and the District of Columbia, or 22 percent of total Lifeline subscribers. By contrast, Verizon only offers its mobile wireless service to Lifeline customers in parts of four states. TracFone’s critical role in providing Lifeline services could be undermined if the transaction is approved without binding conditions.