Verizon and TracFone Wireless get deal approval in California
Verizon and America Movil's TracFone Wireless are a step closer to closing on their merger after gaining another regulatory approval.
Valued at more than $6 billion, the cash and stock transaction first announced last year would expand Verizon’s portfolio into the value segment, enhancing access to its wireless network and delivering its mobility suite to a new customer base.
The California Public Utilities Commission gave its approval for the deal on 18 November after the two parties agreed to additional consumer protection conditions. The deal was previously approved by the Justice Department but is still awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission.
Under the agreement with the California regulator, TracFone or Verizon must participate in a US program providing subsidised wireless service for low-income consumers for 20 years.
Further, TracFone must enrol at least 200,000 Lifeline subscribers in California by the end of 2025; TracFone or Verizon must offer Lifeline customers a phone at no cost, including 5G phones after the first year of the merger; and TracFone or Verizon must offer plans with comparable voice, text, and data at the same or lower price as TracFone currently offers for five years.
In a website post dated "11.21.21", TracFone CEO, Eduardo Diaz Corona, highlighted the benefits of the deal and wrote about the time it was taking to clear.
He wrote: "I’m urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move as swiftly as possible to approve this important transaction that will benefit millions of consumers across the state and nation."
He continued: "This transaction represents a unique opportunity for us to become even stronger, to the benefit of our 20 million subscribers, including the many who participate in the federal Lifeline program via our SafeLink brand, the 138,000 TracFone subscribers who participate in the California LifeLine program and all consumers who value the control that comes with a pre-paid, no contract plan.
"The CPUC has had ample opportunity to review the transaction and must reach a decision before it is too late."