TracFone received permission from the FCC and DOJ yesterday to complete its acquisition of Start Wireless Group, aka PagePlus Cellular. The deal was initially announced in May of 2013 and was expected to be completed by June, 2013. It was held up by an unusuallyp long government agency review.
The sticking point in getting approval for the Page Plus purchase appears to have been over TracFone not being able to support lawfully authorized electronic surveillance of its customers by government agencies under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). In order to get permission to acquire PagePlus, TracFone has agreed to implement interception capabilities that fully comply with the CALEA and to report on its progress toward that goal every 30 days. TracFone also agreed not to disclose information about surveillance requests to any foreign government and to ensure that its US records are not subject to mandatory destruction under any foreign laws. There are PDF copies on the FCC Website of the agreement that Tracfone signed, a statement by the DOJ that it has no objection to the merger and the FCC's approval of the acquisition.
It's too early to tell what effects Page Plus being owned by TracFone will have on customers and dealers. When TracFone acquired Simple Mobile in 2012, Simple Mobile's plans, service and Website remained unchanged for many months. When changes did come they followed the general industry trend of less expensive plans and increased data allowances. However I've heard from several Simple Mobile customers and dealers that Simple Mobile customer and dealer support has deteriorated under TracFone's ownership. Page Plus is noted for much better than average US based support, hopefully TracFone will leave Page Plus support alone.
Tracfone Acquiring Page Plus Cellular
Prepaid Operator Profile: Page Plus
Prepaid Operator Profile: TracFone