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Senators Statement on FCC Approval of Verizon's Acquisition of Tracfone

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) issued the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced its approval of Verizon’s acquisition of TracFone. The approval comes after the Senators sent a letter to the FCC in July, urging the Commission to scrutinize the acquisition and secure commitments to protect consumers who use TracFone’s popular Lifeline and budget prepaid services.

“The FCC’s binding conditions on Verizon’s acquisition of TracFone can have real-life benefits for consumers—if they’re vigorously followed and enforced,” said the Senators. “This deal reflects the firm, important commitments public interest groups and we fought for to preserve Lifeline and budget services for subscribers. The FCC must now remain vigilant to ensure Verizon fulfills its end of the bargain.”

In the $6.9 billion transaction, Verizon is acquiring one of the largest operators of the Lifeline program which provides free or discounted internet and affordable prepaid mobile phone services to low-income Americans. TracFone’s SafeLink Wireless Brand supports 1.7 million Lifeline subscribers in 43 states and approximately 21 million customers overall. The full text of the senators’ July letter to the FCC is available here.