Wed, Nov. 25, 7:23 PM
- Wells Fargo has picked its winners in March's FCC broadcast incentive auction for wireless spectrum -- and it figures AT&T (T +0.2%) will dominate bidding that should total $30B-$35B.
- Analysts at the bank predict up to $10B spending coming from the telecom giant for a nationwide block of 2x10 MHz airwaves.
- T-Mobile (TMUS -3.7%) -- which has been signaling aggressive moves in the auction -- will be second, with $8B spent, the analysts said, while Verizon (VZ -0.6%) should be last with $5B in bids. Sprint (S -1.8%) has already said it's sitting this one out.
- While AT&T backtracked a bit on pledges to spend $9B while it was digesting DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), the analysts think the benefits of a nationwide block may signal higher spending from the company.
- Verizon, meanwhile, has credit to spend up to $10B, but probably won't: "Similar to what T has said publicly and based on our conversations with spectrum experts, we look for VZ to contribute in a meaningful way if 2x10MHz bands are made available."
- Previously: T-Mobile -2.2% as it pledges $200 for each Sprint line that switches (Nov. 25 2015)
- Previously: SoftBank spending: Arora on investment universe, Sprint worries (Nov. 24 2015)
Mon, Nov. 23, 8:34 PM
- Data center operators probably aren't in a buying mood for facilities that might be for sale -- particularly CenturyLink's, Macquarie suggests in a new report -- but private-equity firms could come in with bids.
- CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), the nation's third-largest local phone company, plans to sell 59 centers worldwide, and while Macquarie had thought Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) would get involved, analyst Kevin Smithen has changed his view after attending an industry trade show.
- He now doubts that a buyer will come from among Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros (NYSE:DFT), Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX), CyrusOne (NASDAQ:CONE), CoreSite or QTS Realty, with a limited "pool of logical and capable buyers" for assets from CenturyLink, or from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) or AT&T (NYSE:T). But near term, "private equity seems like the most likely acquirer of assets this size."
- While CenturyLink assets are for sale, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo tried to shut down "speculative" reports that the company would pursue $10B in asset sales.
Thu, Nov. 19, 5:45 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is down 0.8% after hours as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled 3-2 against the carrier in an 11-year-old multimillion-dollar state tax dispute.
- A ruling against Verizon would have wide implications for other companies, the Pennsylvania Telephone Association has argued.
- The dispute stems from revenues collected from installing private phone lines and providing directory assistance along with other repairs and services.
- It's unclear with the new ruling how much Verizon will have to pay, but the company filed a gross receipts tax report for 2004 that said it paid $74M. The state increased the owed amount by $48M, which was reduced to just under $10M on appeal.
- A Commonwealth Court ruling in 2013 said the company didn't owe the state for moving and changing lines, and services and repairs of phone lines. The state Supreme Court is now saying those costs are taxable.
Thu, Nov. 19, 12:47 PM
- Following in competitors' footsteps, Verizon (VZ +0.7%) is tweaking its prepaid plan lineup in an effort to reverse customer losses in an under-emphasized area.
- As with its postpaid data buckets (in clothing-like small, medium, large, XL sizes), the carrier is promoting a simple lineup with more entry-level options. For smartphones, $30/month gets data only via Wi-Fi; $45/month gets 1 GB and $60/month gets 3 GB/month.
- Those plans also have unlimited talk/text. Those signing up for automatic payment get an extra gigabyte of data per month.
- For basic phones, $15/month gets 300 voice minutes or messages, while $30/month gets unlimited talk/text/mobile Web. All plans have extra data packages ($5/500 MB; $10/1 GB; $20/3 GB).
- Verizon said it lost 80,000 prepaid customers in Q3, while AT&T and T-Mobile are showing strong net additions, and Sprint said it moved nearly 200K prepaid customers into its postpaid offerings.
Wed, Nov. 18, 6:28 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) customers could be headed for Wi-Fi calling after the company got an FCC waiver from rules requiring that hearing- and speech-impaired users got support under TTY over wireless IP.
- The waiver, which Verizon applied for last month, is essentially the same one that AT&T received after that carrier waged a contentious debate over Wi-Fi calling offered by Sprint and T-Mobile though those firms hadn't applied for such a waiver.
- Verizon's the last of the big four in this area. The FCC said the waiver expires Dec. 31, 2017.
- The company says it's working on a successor technology, real-time text (RTT), for reliable work in an IP environment.
- Previously: AT&T receives FCC waiver, to roll out Wi-Fi calling (Oct. 07 2015)
- Previously: AT&T pressing for FCC waiver for Wi-Fi calling; slams Sprint, T-Mobile (Oct. 02 2015)
Fri, Nov. 13, 6:49 PM
- Along with a price hike for its unlimited wireless phone plans on Sunday, Verizon (VZ -1.3%) is bringing back activation fees, instituting a $20 charge for new lines of service.
- The carrier had waived the fees just a few months ago when it abandoned phone subsidies and service contracts; they were $40 at the time for customers who signed two-year deals.
- AT&T (T -1.1%) charges a $15 fee for devices sold through its installment program, or $45 for a two-year contract or purchased device.
- Verizon is raising the price of its unlimited data plan by $20/month on Sunday, a move in line with recent ones by its competitors. Sprint (S +0.7%) raised its own unlimited data plan by $10/month at the end of September.
- At least Verizon waited until after T-Mobile's (TMUS +2%) "Un-carrier X" event to drop the news; T-Mo's John Legere is fond of lambasting competitors for broad line activation charges, though every carrier has one somewhere.
Wed, Nov. 11, 5:23 PM
- Will they or won't they? With a crucial government auction in March of low-band airwaves inching nearer, Verizon (VZ +0.5%) continues to play coy about whether it will participate.
- CFO Fran Shammo told the Wells Fargo Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that the 600-MHz spectrum being auctioned was not a priority for the company and may even interfere with current 700-MHz holdings.
- Verizon's only using 40% of its spectrum portfolio to support LTE, Shammo said, putting the emphasis on higher-band frequencies (1.7/2.1 GHz, and refarming its 1.9 GHz bands).
- Of the big operators, only AT&T and T-Mobile are acting all-in; Sprint plans to sit it out due to a strong existing portfolio (and, surely, a cash crunch).
- Verizon had bid $10.4B in January's record $45B AWS-3 spectrum auction, after which it pursued selling wireline assets for about $10B to Frontier Communications.
- Previously: T-Mobile in pole position as smaller carriers start bailing out of auction (Oct. 15 2015)
- Previously: Analysts: Verizon, Dish Network could deal on spectrum this year (Sep. 21 2015)
- Previously: Verizon in no rush to buy more spectrum (Feb. 17 2015)
- Previously: FCC releases winners in record spectrum auction (Jan. 30 2015)
Tue, Nov. 10, 3:48 PM
- Reports of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) refocusing on core business via up to $10B in asset sales are "speculative" and "conjecture," CFO Fran Shammo says, and that the company will continue to support its enterprise customers.
- "There's no foundation behind these comments," Shammo said at an investor conference today.
- On Friday, Reuters reported that the company would look at unloading Terremar, its data center unit, and the former MCI, which serves Verizon's enterprise customers with wireline and Internet. The company is said to be working with Citigroup on a possible sale.
- Previously: Verizon rebounding on report it's considering $10B in asset sales (Nov. 06 2015)
Fri, Nov. 6, 1:14 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) shares that were off as much as 2% are rebounding, now down just 1.1%, as Reuters reports that the carrier is exploring a sale of enterprise assets worth up to $10B.
- The move would be a refocus on core business, unloading its data center unit Terremark as well as the former MCI, which provides wireline/Internet for large business customers. Verizon had acquired MCI for $8.4B in 2006.
- Those businesses are suffering in comparison with more nimble cloud competitors amid heavy price competition.
- Citigroup is advising Verizon on a possible sale and CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) was a bidder earlier this year, sources said. Verizon had prevailed over Qwest (now part of CenturyLink) in the battle to acquire MCI.
Thu, Nov. 5, 2:40 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has elected longtime Merck chairman and CEO Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley to its board, effective today.
- The move brings Verizon's board to 13 members. Verizon chief Lowell McAdam cited Kley's "extensive expertise in corporate finance and critical capabilities in strategy and operations." Kley's not been named to a board committee yet.
- Kley has held the top roles at Germany's Merck since 2007. He had served as CFO at Deutsche Lufthansa from 1998 to 2006.
Wed, Nov. 4, 11:45 AM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has clinched a multiyear deal to put NBA basketball content on its recently launched Go90 video service.
- The pact is a content and marketing partnership that will provide Go90 with daily highlights and original content, and out-of-market games via NBA League Pass (a premium service). The original content will include exclusive series for the platform.
- Verizon will also become the official wireless provider of the NBA as well as the WNBA, NBA Development League and USA Basketball, among other marketing partnerships (including the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest).
Tue, Nov. 3, 12:00 PM
- Verizon (VZ -0.9%) is going to stay clear of major M&A, but will keep its eye on strategic options, and wants investors to start thinking of it as a "GDP-plus" type of growth company.
- That's some of the takeaways from the company's meeting with analysts at its headquarters late yesterday. After some flat service revenues in its Q3 earnings, the company had signaled that ads and data would be its next growth engine.
- That strategy includes its Go90 video service and "Internet of Things" revenue that's hit $500M this year with more investment coming from Verizon. The company said it expects new initiatives to contribute to GDP-plus revenue growth in 3-5 years. "Verizon is positioned to be the FedEx of the digital age," says Verizon chief Lowell McAdam.
- While other companies pursue tie-ups to catch up to a global move towards "quad-play" bundles (wireline, wireless, TV, broadband), McAdam questioned that, said BTIG's Walt Piecyk: "I have not seen any new info on this for 10 years."
- "Management was candid that behind its decisions is a recognition that it needs to disrupt its own business before someone else does and that it is moving to deploy assets to better meet the needs of millennials, which it noted are expected to account for 60% of the purchasing power in the U.S. by 2020," said Cowen's Colby Synesael, who says it's "hard to identify any near-term catalysts" to drive the stock.
- Shares are up 3.7% since earnings on Oct. 20.
Wed, Oct. 28, 7:41 PM
- Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) "Internet of Things" revenue has hit $500M this year, and the company is planning as soon as Q1 to offer options with less overhead to ease adoption.
- Most devices that could talk to the Web don't, because of high connectivity costs, but Verizon's Mike Lanman says the company will work to make the service more mainstream.
- “The current network was built around smartphones,” Lanman said. “By lowering the cost of the modules and providing an offer where network access is more affordable,” the company could compete with Wi-Fi and convince gadget makers to put lifetime cellular access into the products themselves.
- IDC estimates there will be 30B connected devices around the world by 2020, and the market for the gadgets will hit $1.7T.
- “IoT isn’t going to be synonymous with cellular connectivity,” says IDC's Carrie MacGillivray, but Verizon “will move the needle a little bit."
Wed, Oct. 28, 5:27 PM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has told employees it's going to reorganize its regional wireless operations, a move that will come with job cuts.
- The company didn't put a number to the job losses, though the company's 20 regional offices will be cut to six, says Verizon's Jim Gerace.
- Sales and store employees won't be affected.
- At Q3's end, Verizon employed 177,900 people.
- Previously: New York AG probing speeds at big broadband providers (Oct. 26 2015)
Mon, Oct. 26, 12:24 PM
- Saying he's "concerned," New York's attorney general is asking three Internet providers to prove that customers are getting the access speeds they were promised, especially on the higher end.
- Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) have each gotten a request from AG Eric Schneiderman to provide some extensive details, on total broadband customers since 2011 and their service levels as well as customer complaints and copies of their interconnection deals.
- "New Yorkers deserve the Internet speeds they pay for. But, it turns out, many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another," the statement from Schneiderman's office says. The three companies each expressed confidence that they were providing speed as promised.
- The interconnection deals may be key to the probe, as past studies have shown that service tended to suffer where providers connected with longer-haul carriers.
Mon, Oct. 26, 8:40 AM
- PrecisionHawk, Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Harris (NYSE:HRS) and DigitalGlobe (NYSE:DGI) have announced the successful completion of initial testing of high-performance airspace services to serve as a pathway for safe drone integration.
- The move puts together industry leaders in drones, cellular, aircraft surveillance and satellite imagery, to form the LATAS platform, which connects airspace safety technologies for the rapidly growing drone market.
Verizon Communications Inc is a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its two segments are Wireless and Wireline.
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