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.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, added just 25,000 net subscribers in the second quarter, only a slight improvement over the anemic growth the company experienced in the year-ago period. In the second quarter of 2014, the company had added just 8,000 customers.
Executives from América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, met last week with FCC officials to press their position on what reforms the agency should make to its Lifeline phone program. TracFone, one of the nation's largest providers of Lifeline service, proposed reforms that would make it easier to track Lifeline enrollees' information but in some cases make it tougher for them to be purged from customer rolls.
A survey paid for by a group that has financial ties to América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, found that older Americans strongly support the federal government's Lifeline program. TracFone is one of the nation's largest providers of Lifeline phone service. The survey is being trumpeted as new questions are being raised about the Lifeline program's effectiveness.
América Móvil's U.S. MVNO, TracFone Wireless, lost 318,000 total customers in the first quarter, which it blamed largely on disconnections it had to make related to its participation in the federal Lifeline phone program.
T-Mobile US indicated it plans to discontinue its support for the federal Lifeline phone program, which provides subsidized phone service to low-income Americans, as of the end of 2014. The carrier said the move will impact its operations in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, New York and Tennessee and Washington, D.C.
AT&T Mobility's Cricket prepaid brand is planning to phase out its support for the government's Lifeline service. The company said it will continue to support its existing Lifeline customers on CDMA phones for the next 18 months or so, and that it will not sign up any new Lifeline customers on Cricket GSM phones.
Poor Americans are driving the mobile-only trend, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.