Verizon acquires low-income carrier Tracfone for $6.25B

Posted:
in General Discussion
Verizon is increasing its customer base by pushing into the low-income cellular market, by announcing an acquisition of major virtual mobile network Tracfone for more than $6 billion.

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Announced on Monday, the agreement with America Movil will see it transfer ownership of Tracfone over to Verizon, upon completion. As Tracfone is the largest prepaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the United States, this means Verizon will gain a considerable 21 million direct subscribers.

As an MNVO, Tracfone pays other carriers to use their networks, something it already does with Verizon for more than 13 million subscribers. After completion, Verizon hopes to extend its network to the remaining subscribers, as well as to further use its 4G LTE and 5G networks for those customers.

Tracfone is offered through a network of over 90,000 retail locations, which Verizon also expects to further develop and expand with more market opportunities for the brand. Approximately 850 employees will also be moving over to Verizon as part of the purchase.

The carrier largely handles the low-cost market under a number of different sub-brands, including Walmart FamilyMobile Total Wireless, and SimpleMobile. Verizon has agreed that it will continue to offer services to value and low income segments, including continuing to offer Tracfone's "Lifeline" service, which provides free phones and minutes to consumers, and StraightTalk's prepaid plans.

The purchase will be split evenly, with $3.125 billion in cash and $3.125 billion in Verizon common stock, subject to customary adjustments at closing. There's also an extra $650 million on the line, if "certain performance measures and other commercial arrangements" are met.

The acquisition is anticipated to close in the second half of 2021, though it will still have to receive regulatory approval.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    So the interesting question will be for GSM tracfone users. Have 2 family members on tracfone data carry over plan on GSM phones. But then now might qualify to transfer number as new user on my account to AT&T whereas before didn’t. Who knows...
  • Reply 2 of 5
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,253member
    Is Tracfone use limited to “low income” customers? Do they do a credit check and only approve you if you have a very low score or a pitiful small W2?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    “Verizon has agreed that it will continue to offer services to value and low income segments, including continuing to offer Tracfone's "Lifeline" service,...”

    For a while, maybe. Who REALLY believes this will be perpetual, or won’t be turned into something it wasn’t, just to serve this part:

    “There's also an extra $650 million on the line, if "certain performance measures and other commercial arrangements" are met.”

    Mergers and acquisitions are never good for anyone but the top executives and the primary stock holders. What positive things they say the merger will do for customers is always BS.

    ronntyler82
  • Reply 4 of 5
    dewme said:
    Is Tracfone use limited to “low income” customers? Do they do a credit check and only approve you if you have a very low score or a pitiful small W2?
    No, anyone can use Tracfone. I would have called them a budget or low cost carrier instead.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,798member
    dewme said:
    Is Tracfone use limited to “low income” customers? Do they do a credit check and only approve you if you have a very low score or a pitiful small W2?
    Nah, you just sign up and start using it (after you've paid of course).

    Tracfone and other prepaid discount MVNOs don't do credit checks. There's no sense to it (note that it costs creditors to pull a credit report).

    These prepaid services are attractive to low-income customers because they DON'T require a credit check.
    edited September 2020
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