Legislators are scheduled to vote on a bill Tuesday that would block the FCC from giving federal subsidies to low-income consumers for mobile phone and wireless broadband services, The Hill reported.
Sprint said it will merge its Assurance Wireless brand with Access Wireless in a tie-up of Lifeline service providers.
CTIA is fighting a Republican effort to impose a hard budget cap on Lifeline, a federal subsidy program for fixed-line and mobile phones that was recently expanded to cover broadband service.
The FCC announced plans to fine a wireless services provider a record $51 million for allegedly fraudulently enrolling tens of thousands of users into the Lifeline program in a move that underscores a problem that has plagued the government's program for years.
The FCC voted to expand the Lifeline program to cover broadband Internet service for low-income Americans during a heated meeting that followed the collapse of an 11th-hour effort to reach a consensus among the five commissioners.
Life Wireless, which provides mobile services to low-income consumers through the federal Lifeline program, said it signed its 1 millionth subscriber.
Sprint urged the FCC this week to give Lifeline subscribers the option of applying the program's subsidies to either voice or broadband service, saying end-user co-pays for broadband service severely limit participation in the program.
In a new, lengthy filing with the FCC, AT&T reiterated its proposed changes to the agency's Lifeline program. Specifically, AT&T urged the FCC to offload most of the management functions of the program to the Universal Service Administrative Company, and to also allow Lifeline recipients to use the program to pay for their Internet access, whether that's wireless or wireline.
According to a recent Politico article, lawmakers are concerned that the FCC hasn't yet collected fines against some telecommunications companies. For example, the FCC has announced fines against the likes of AT&T Mobility and others, but hasn't yet collected those fines.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, thinks the FCC should not impose minimum service standards on Lifeline phone service providers as it seeks to revamp and reform the program. TracFone has around 4.4 million qualified low-income households currently enrolled in its SafeLink Wireless Lifeline program, and is the country's leading provider of Lifeline-supported services.