The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union urged US regulators to closely scrutinise a $6.25 billion Verizon deal to acquire MVNO Tracfone due to concerns over the impact on low-income customers.
Verizon previously asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expedite its review of the deal. But CWA pressed the FCC to conduct a more thorough examination, citing “serious problems” with the operator’s application and “several significant” competition concerns which “warrant a full, public proceeding”.
It pointed to the potential impact on the government’s Lifeline subsidy programme, which helps low-income consumers purchase mobile service: because Tracfone is one of the largest participants in the scheme, CWA said the acquisition “creates the risk” Verizon could drop out of the programme and eliminate a key competitor in the market.
CWA also flagged potential harm to competition in the MVNO market, which it warned could result in higher prices for consumers.
Last month consumer groups including New America’s Open Technology Institute; Public Knowledge; and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society also requested the FCC deny Verizon’s bid for a swift review.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back