The answer to this question used to be an emphatic, “Yes!” But as of November 2021, the new answer is “No, Safelink is now owned by Verizon.”
The Mexican multi-billionaire sold this part of his telecommunications empire to American telecommunications conglomerate and then wrote a check to the Mexican government for $1.35 billion in back taxes.
Here’s how we answered this question before Safelink was acquired by Verizon:
Is it true.
Safelink Wireless is owned by Mexican Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man.
Yes, it is true.
SafeLink Wireless is run by a subsidiary of América Móvil, the world’s fourth largest wireless company in terms of subscribers. Another subsidiary of América Móvil is TracFone. The free phones from Safelink are actually given out by Tracfone and the airtime minutes are handled by Safelink.
Here’s how Forbes described him in the World’s Richest Man issue:
Telecom tycoon who pounced on privatization of Mexico’s national telephone company in the 1990s becomes world’s richest person for first time after coming in third place last year. Net worth up $18.5 billion in a year. Recently received regulatory approval to merge his fixed-line assets into American Movil, Latin America’s biggest mobile phone company. His construction conglomerate, Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo, builds roads and energy infrastructure. Son of a Lebanese immigrant also owns stakes in financial group Inbursa, Bronco Drilling, Independent News & Media, Saks and New York Times Co. Newspaper outfit’s stock popped in early March on talk he might buy a controlling stake; he denies the rumor.
So now you know the truth. Next time you hear someone say, “Safelink is owned by a Mexican billionaire,” you can tell them the truth.