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The Business of Jail Phone Calls

The Business of Jail Phone Calls
June 9, 2022

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You know that scene in the movie, where a weary parent picks up the phone, and an automated voice proclaims, "an inmate at such and such correctional facility is calling. Press one to accept the charges."? Jailhouse phone calling, it turns out, is a big business. It's specifically called Inmate Calling Services, and it's a particular vein of the telecommunications industry in our country. 

Two major jailhouse phone corporations have been on an acquisition spree of smaller telecommunication companies for years. Aventiv, which acquired the industry leader Securus, and GTL represent the two primary providers for jailhouse telecommunications across the country. Now, these two companies' market consolidation has caught the eye of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC has been hot on their tails (in slow bureaucratic terms) for years, questioning the exorbitant prices and commission structure for the two companies to win contracts with jails.


These ICS companies are attempting to work out different pricing structures, such as a subscription model, after pressure from organizations and the families of incarcerated individuals who pay the price of communication with their loved ones. The trajectory of each company is like a masterclass in mergers & acquisitions, but one that has undoubtedly sparked criticism for price fixing and anti-competitive behavior.

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