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Verizon completes Tracfone acquisition after FCC approval

The FCC set several conditions that aim to ensure the acquisition "will be in the public interest."

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon on Tuesday said it had completed its acquisition of prepaid mobile company Tracfone, just a day after the US Federal Communications Commission voted to approve the $6 billion deal. Verizon announced the acquisition in September, pending the regulatory approval that finally came this week. 

"The addition of the TracFone brands firmly establishes Verizon as the provider of choice in the value segment," said Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon's consumer group, in a release. 

Verizon said it plans to future develop Tracfone's core brands, which included Straight Talks, Total Wireless and SafeLink. Tracfone will also continue to offer service as part of the federal Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for low-income Americans. 

When the deal was announced, Verizon's CEO Hans Vestberg tweeted that the company was excited to "put the full support of Verizon behind this business." It's another big investment from the wireless carrier, following Verizon's spending $53 billion on radio airwaves this March.

The FCC's approval came with a long list of "binding conditions to address potential harms and to ensure the transaction will be in the public interest," according to an FCC press release. Those conditions are largely centered on keeping Tracfone's products and services accessible and affordable for low-income consumers and ensuring Tracfone's existing customers don't get left behind in the transition. The FCC said Verizon will have to maintain existing packages and guarantee affordable 5G products and services to Tracfone customers, among other conditions.

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Verizon will be required to report regularly on these conditions and submit to oversight for more than seven years. The company will also have to "retain both an internal company compliance officer and an independent compliance officer to ensure compliance with these commitments for seven and a half years," according to the FCC's approval letter.