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Thu, Jan. 21, 12:00 AM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) reports earnings Thursday morning, and while profits are expected to log a healthy gain, subscriber growth and average revenue may disappoint as there's been no rest in a competitive market.
- Consensus expectations are for the carrier to report EPS of $0.88 (up 24%) and revenues of $34.12B (up 2.6%) -- but that on only 1.4M added subscribers, down some 30% Y/Y. T-Mobile reported earlier this month that it added more than 2M subscribers on a net basis.
- It's an illustration of challenges in a market where pretty much everyone has a phone. Average bills have shrunk at all carriers amid the hot competition, and Verizon's are again expected to be third-best among the big four carriers (ahead of only T-Mobile).
- Meanwhile, only Sprint is expected to post Y/Y gains in monthly users.
Wed, Jan. 20, 5:30 PM
Wed, Jan. 20, 5:10 PM
- Verizon (VZ -0.9%) says it went to the FCC with news about a new sponsored data service it's offering -- likely a precaution as the agency sorts out what its net neutrality regulations mean to data traffic prioritization and so-called "zero rating."
- Verizon's FreeBee offering will be a trial of two kinds of data service where partners will be able to sponsor content -- especially mobile video -- that would be exempt from the company's subscriber data caps. One model (FreeBee Data 360) allows partners to sponsor some or all of their content on mobile apps or websites, billed per gigabyte, and a second delivers on a pay-per-click basis.
- Carriers including Verizon have been formulating plans for how to deal with net neutrality regulations, and they follow on T-Mobile's (TMUS -0.8%) launch of "Binge On," video streaming that is exempt from that carrier's data limits though scaled to 480p. While that launch raised flags among net neutrality advocates, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised it as "innovative."
Wed, Jan. 20, 11:10 AM
- AOL (VZ -1.7%) has taken on a strategic partnership with Taboola -- the content discovery platform that recommends new story links for website visitors -- and plans to take an equity stake.
- The deal will integrate Taboola across all of AOL's premium brands, including AOL.com, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MapQuest and others.
- The partnership involves desktop, tablet, mobile Web and mobile apps and the two will pursue shared data initiatives to improve user insight.
Fri, Jan. 15, 5:32 PM
- Sprint (S -9.9%) has a "radical" plan to overhaul its cell network that could save up to $1B -- but might result in hiccups along the way.
- The carrier plans to relocate radio equipment from towers leased from private companies, namely Crown Castle (CCI -5.8%) and American Tower (AMT -4.2%), onto cheaper properties owned by the government, Re/code reports.
- It's also hoping to reduce its dependency on backhaul from AT&T (T -0.9%) and Verizon (VZ -1%) by using microwave technology a la Clearwire instead. The company cuts annual checks of $1B for backhaul to the two rivals.
- One source says the company's "Next Generation Network" will result in a new wave of disruptions and could end up with less coverage in regions where Sprint has few subscribers: “Getting there is going to be a nightmare ... It’s going to be very, very disruptive.”
- Sprint will lease towers from privately held Mobilitie, which will locate where possible on government-owned ROW.
- “Sprint’s plan is not for the faint of heart,” Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche writes in a note. “Sprint needs to be solely focused on avoiding mistakes of the past, where network overhauls caused major disruptions in the network’s performance.”
Mon, Jan. 11, 9:06 AM
- With the unlimited data plan slowly dying among U.S. wireless providers, AT&T (NYSE:T) is bringing it back -- but as a promotion to boost its TV business.
- Shares are up 0.5% in premarket action.
- The company is offering its first chance in five years to sign up for unlimited wireless data, provided customers commit to DirecTV or U-verse.
- Subscribers can get the wireless plan for $100/month, with additional smartphones at $40. A fourth smartphone can be added for no extra cost.
- The move hints at a response to T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), which has made video streaming free on its wireless platform via a "Binge On" promotion, as well as to Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) Go90 video service. AT&T confirms it "plans to launch a wide-range of new video entertainment options later this year."
- Sprint (NYSE:S), along with T-Mobile, still offers an unlimited option, though it raised its price on the plan in September. AT&T raised prices on its grandfathered unlimited plans in November, following Verizon's increase in October.
Wed, Jan. 6, 5:19 PM
- Verizon (VZ -0.9%) and Sony Music (SNE -7.2%) are teaming on a video partnership for Verizon's Go90, adding a number of original shows and musical performances to the burgeoning mobile streaming service.
- Along with special live music events, the two plan to launch shows this year including Crashed, a hidden-camera comedy where fans are greeted by celebrities, and Car Star, a competition series focused on (surprise) singing in the car.
- Musical tie-ins will include a multi-night concert series showcasing Sony Music's artists. The deal also covers some previously announced programming arrangements between Go90 and Astronauts Wanted, a joint venture between Sony Music and MTV ex Judy McGrath.
Wed, Jan. 6, 3:06 PM
- AT&T (T -0.4%) is suggesting it's interested in putting up a challenge to Verizon (VZ -1.4%) over FirstNet -- the government's public-safety wireless broadband network focused on first responders, where Verizon has been widely considered a solid front-runner.
- The request for proposals is expected this month on a project that could cost $20B-$30B. RFPs were originally expected by the end of 2015, and are likely to target only "national deployment" offers, meaning a winner-take-all scenario.
- At Citi's investor conference, AT&T's John Donovan says the FirstNet contract is a "rare event" and a "good opportunity for us."
- "The timing of the spectrum, the position of the spectrum, the customer opportunity that comes with it — it's a rare event, so we're going to pursue it aggressively," Donovan said.
- Verizon has been considered in strong position for the deal because it has an existing rural partnership program around its 700 MHz spectrum.
- The FirstNet decision is likely to come after March 29's FCC broadcast incentive auction.
- Previously: Verizon likely frontrunner for government's FirstNet project (Oct. 12 2015)
Tue, Jan. 5, 6:18 PM
- While CFO Fran Shammo had tamped down "speculative" reports about asset sales, Verizon (VZ +1.4%) has started the process of selling its data centers with hopes of drawing more than $2.5B, Reuters reports.
- Shares are up 0.2% after hours.
- A sale process would mean a reversal of the company's moves into hosting and co-location after it paid $1.4B in 2011 for Terremark. Citigroup is advising Verizon and the portfolio up for sale includes 48 data centers and brings in annual EBITDA of around $275M, sources said.
- Early November reports that Verizon would look at unloading enterprise assets were shot down by Shammo, who said that the company would continue to support enterprise customers. "There's no foundation behind these comments," he told an investor conference.
- Previously: Verizon CFO: Reports of $10B in asset sales 'speculative' (Nov. 10 2015)
- Previously: Verizon rebounding on report it's considering $10B in asset sales (Nov. 06 2015)
Tue, Jan. 5, 3:49 AM
- New York City will begin this month replacing thousands of pay phones with free Wi-Fi hot spots that will sit atop a 9.5-foot tall box featuring electronic advertising screens and an Android tablet that can be used to place free phone calls.
- The $200M project, called LinkNYC, is being run by CityBridge, a joint venture between three tech companies: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), CIVIQ Smartscapes, and Intersection (which has backing from Alphabet).
- "Free abundant Wi-Fi at those speeds could give people living in NYC, the country's largest market, a reason to spend less on wireless data services from carriers such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T)," said Craig Moffett, senior research analyst at MoffettNathanson.
Mon, Jan. 4, 9:02 AM| Mon, Jan. 4, 9:02 AM
- December monthly performance was: -0.5%
- 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -3%
- $0.25 in dividends were paid in December
- Top 10 Holdings as of 11/30/2015: Apple Inc (AAPL): 3.5%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 3.48%, Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 3.24%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.13%, AT&T Inc (T): 2.94%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 2.68%, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 2.24%, Wells Fargo & Co (WFC): 2.19%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 2.12%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.04%
Sun, Jan. 3, 9:16 AM
- When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines 18 months ago regarding the radiation risk from cellphones, it used unusually bold language: "We recommend caution in cellphone use."
- Within weeks, though, the CDC reversed course. It no longer recommended caution, and deleted a passage specifically addressing potential risks for children.
- Mainstream scientific consensus currently holds that there is little to no evidence that cellphone signals raise the risk of brain cancer or other health problems. Nevertheless, more than 500 pages of internal records obtained by NYT, along with interviews with former agency officials, reveal a debate and some disagreement among scientists and health agencies about what guidance to give as the use of mobile devices skyrockets.
- Related tickers: NOK, AAPL, BBRY, MSI, SNE, VZ, TMUS, T, S, OTC:SSNLF, OTC:HTCXF, OTCPK:ZTCOF, OTCPK:ZTCOY
Dec. 31, 2015, 6:00 PM
- The FCC's year-end "Measuring Broadband America" report says DSL providers like Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier have a challenge ahead if sticking with copper, since speeds aren't keeping up with promises -- and cable providers have taken advantage (and share) this year.
- DOCSIS 3.0 technologies are letting cablecos boost speeds to the three digits (100 Mbps), and DOCSIS 3.1 will allow for competition with fiber, and 1 Gbps speeds over coaxial networks.
- "All ISPs using cable, fiber or satellite technologies advertise speeds for services that on average are close to or below the actual speeds experienced by their subscribers," the FCC says. "However, some DSL providers continue to advertise speeds that on average exceed actual speeds."
- Cablecos like Comcast (CMCSA -0.5%), Charter (CHTR -0.6%), Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.2%), Cox and Cablevision (CVC +0.1%) raised maximum advertised speeds from 12-20 Mbps in March 2011 to 50-105 Mbps by September 2014.
- Meanwhile, Verizon (VZ -1.2%) is in harvest mode on its copper lines, and its lack of FiOS plans in many areas means customers may seek fiber or cable alternatives. But in areas where Verizon and Frontier offer fiber-to-the-home, most popular speeds are 25 and 35 Mpbs.
- CenturyLink (CTL -0.9%) and Frontier (FTR +0.2%) have made some moves to upgrade their copper networks, pushing into 100 Mbps trials in some cities.
- For 2015: CMCSA -3.4%; CHTR +8.9%; TWC +21.4%; CVC +54%; VZ -3.4%; CTL -37.8%; FTR -31.6%.
Dec. 31, 2015, 5:13 PM
- T-Mobile (TMUS -1.6%) ended the year as the big winner among the U.S. wireless big four, finishing up 45% for 2015. AT&T was the only other to gain, and was up 2.4% for the year.
- Looking ahead, T-Mobile is already hoping to make a splash in the FCC's broadcast incentive auction of wireless airwaves, with CEO John Legere looking to be a "winner."
- "The lowband spectrum auctions will be the most important in recent U.S. history and will shape the future of the wireless industry for decades to come," Legere writes. "I predict that T-Mobile will walk away a winner."
- AT&T (T -1%) and Verizon (VZ -1.2%) will have more money to spend in the auction, but likely less interest, as both built their LTE networks on "beachfront" 700 MHz spectrum.
- Wells Fargo, though, has predicted that AT&T will spend the most (along with Verizon spending the least) in the sale. Sprint (S -0.3%; down 12.8% this year) has said it will sit it out.
Dec. 30, 2015, 8:09 PM
- Verizon's (VZ -0.9%) Go90 video service is headed for 2M users early in the new year, with Android users taking the lead after a slow start, Apptopia says.
- The carrier itself isn't talking about subscriber numbers. Apptopia notes the service (currently free and ad-supported) was downloaded over 709K times on iOS -- where it had taken off fastest -- through December 15. But during the same period, it has been downloaded on Google Play 1.09M times.
- Verizon expects to sell a premium paid version in Q1 with content exempted from monthly data caps, Barclays has said.
- Previously: Barclays: Verizon planning paid, cap-exempt version of Go90 (Dec. 22 2015)
- Previously: AT&T plans its own mobile entertainment service (Dec. 08 2015)
- Previously: Verizon wins NBA content for Go90 video service in multiyear deal (Nov. 04 2015)
Dec. 28, 2015, 6:50 PM
- In a move that mirrors promos long offered by rivals, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is now offering mobile users up to $650 per line to switch from another carrier.
- Consumers who trade in their current smartphone and buy one on a Verizon payment plan get up to $650 (through a prepaid card) to cover remaining installment plan balances with another carrier. Switchers signing up for Big Red's XL or XXL plan also get an extra 2GB/month of data for life.
- Verizon has long been more conservative with its promo activity than peers, relying on its coverage edge and network performance to maintain premium pricing. The company reported 1.3M retail postpaid net adds for Q3, including 430K postpaid phone net adds.
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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