The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cleared a $6.25 billion Verizon acquisition of MVNO Tracfone Wireless, enforcing a number of conditions to ensure the tie-up is in the public interest and protects low-income consumers.

In a statement, the FCC mentioned it voted to approve the deal following a rigorous review, deeming Verizon and Tracfone would be stronger providers of prepaid services and the US Lifeline subsidy programme.

The regulator stipulated protections against price rises for low-income consumers to ensure Tracfone remained influential to the broader Lifeline scheme, guarantee availability of affordable 5G handsets and customers were not overlooked as they transition to Verizon.

Another major condition requires Verizon to offer Tracfone’s Lifeline-supported services over the same service areas for at least seven years.

The FCC explained it adopted independent mechanisms for enforcing the conditions through an internal and external compliance officer with the aim of ensuring the deal did not impact low-income or other consumers.

Verizon is required to provide regular reporting to prove it is meeting the conditions.

In its own statement, Verizon SVP and DGC for public policy and government affairs Kathy Grillo highlighted consumer benefits through “enhancements in devices, network performance and innovative products and services”.

The deal was announced in September 2020 and received approvals from the Department of Justice and California Public Utilities Commission.