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CWA Voices Concerns to FCC over Proposed Tracfone Acquisition

Back in September, Verizon Wireless expressed its plans to acquire mobile operator, Tracfone. Unfortunately, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) has spoken up about their concerns on the proposed purchase. 

Recently, the trade union sent out its objections on a 24-page filing they submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In their filing, the organization talked about some of their biggest concerns over the acquisition; one of which would be Lifeline services. Tracfone is among the largest Lifeline service providers in the country. If the business is purchased by Verizon, the CWA fears that its services could be jeopardized. 

"CWA has serious concerns that this transaction could curtail service availability from Tracfone, one of the largest providers of Lifeline services in the country."

The trade union shares that Tracfone has been a long-time supporter of the Lifeline program offered by the FCC. Verizon, however, has "generally avoided participation in Lifeline and the prepaid market."

In its filing, the CWA is asking the FCC to deny the wireless carrier's "streamlined" review request. The union claims that this is an attempt by Verizon to avoid a thorough public review process that other transactions in the industry undergo. The FCC's Lifeline program helps low-income households be able to afford wireless services. 

In addition to their concerns over Lifeline services, the CWA also worries about antitrust issues. If Verizon successfully acquires Tracfone, workers' wages and consumer prices could be significantly affected by it. Once the acquisition pushes through, there will be less competition in the wireless industry.

"In acquiring the leading MVNO, Verizon could have the incentive to disadvantage other MVNOs that currently rely on its services."

Verizon is planning to acquire Tracfone for $6.9 billion. Tracfone is recognized as the largest mobile virtual network (MVNO) and prepaid wireless provider in the country with around 21 million customers across their brands. 

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