Verizon buying Tracfone Wireless for $6 billion

The logo of Verizon Wireless. (Graphic: The Desk)

Wireless phone company Verizon is buying prepaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Tracfone Wireless for more than $6 billion, the companies announced in a press release on Monday.

The move marries Tracfone’s 21 million wireless subscribers with the biggest provider of wireless phone and data services in the country.

The merger affects Tracfone’s subsidiary brands, including Net 10, Walmart FamilyMobile, SafeLink, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk Wireless and Clearway, all of which are being acquired by Verizon as part of the deal.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming all of Tracfone’s customers and each of Tracfone’s nearly 850 valuable employees,” Ronan Dunne, an executive with Verizon Consumer Group, said in a statement. “We are excited to expand our relationship with Tracfone’s distribution partners, and when Tracfone’s customers become part of our family, they will get the best of both worlds – more choices, better services, and new features thanks to Verizon’s investment–but with the flexibility and control that they have come to value with its prepaid plans.”

Verizon says their acquisition of Tracfone is contingent upon clearing regulatory hurdles and is expected to formally close in the second half of 2021. The company is paying $3.1 billion in cash and another $3.1 billion in common stock for Tracfone.

Once the deal closes, Verizon says it will offer Tracfone customers access to its 4G LTE and 5G mobile data networks.