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Verizon Communications (VZ)

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  • Tue, Mar. 10, 10:21 AM
    • The price war may have "calmed a bit," says Verizon (VZ -0.7%) CFO Fran Shammo, but the company still expects wireless cancellations to increase in the first quarter.
    • Speaking to the Deutsche Bank conference, Shammo says the industry really heated up last year, with 90 price moves compared to about 20 the prior year. Retail postpaid churn jumped to 1.14% in Q4.
    • Shammo sees more of the same this quarter but says the company isn't concerned.
    • And more in transition: Along with Dan Mead's planned retirement after he directs the wireline asset sale to Frontier Communications, Shammo announced the retirement of Verizon's chief technology officer, Tony Melone.
    • Previously: Carriage dispute drops Weather Channel from Verizon FiOS (Mar. 10 2015)
    | 6 Comments
  • Tue, Mar. 10, 9:04 AM
    • The Weather Channel went dark on Verizon (NYSE:VZ) FiOS stations today as carriage agreements expired without renewal. Verizon has placed AccuWeather Network content on the stations where TWC lived.
    • It's not the first showdown for the Weather Channel, owned in part by NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) along with Bain Capital and Blackstone (NYSE:BX). A year ago the channel took a few months' hiatus from DirecTV over a carriage fee dispute and returned thanks to Hilton Hotels' insistence.
    • The channel has a bit of weight to throw around -- it's tops on the Nielsen list of national networks, with 97.1M subscribers.
    • Verizon shares are down 0.7% premarket.
    | 11 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 6, 1:03 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) declares $0.55/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 4.55%
    • Payable May 1; for shareholders of record April 10; ex-div April 8.
    | 5 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 2, 3:12 PM
    • At Mobile World Congress, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) confirms its plans to offer wireless phone service "in the coming months" -- a small MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, where it would offer branded services by piggybacking on a partner's network.
    • The company says its entry will be modest and designed to showcase technological innovation, similar to what it does with its Nexus branded hardware, made by partners. But in a hotly competitive market, it could take share and have an impact on whichever competitors it doesn't align with (T, VZ, TMUS, S).
    • Google hasn't named whose network it would ride on, but it has service-reseller deals with Sprint and T-Mobile.
    • Besides its direct impact on the fortunes of competitors, which might be small, Google's move might spur innovation from them if it moves on a vision of better wireless connectivity.
    • This afternoon: GOOG +2%.
    | 41 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 27, 6:37 PM
    • Fresh off their vote for re-regulation of Internet transmissions, the five FCC commissioners will be spending mid-March on Capitol Hill answering to the GOP Congress.
    • The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding its hearing March 19, a day after the members are scheduled with the Senate Commerce Committee.
    • The chairmen of the two committees, Greg Walden and John Thune, are backing a bill that would reverse the FCC's Title II reclassification (treating Internet providers more like utilities) and substantively narrow its approach to ensuring net neutrality.
    • Following the 3-2 vote, major carriers indicated their strategy would be twofold: Lawsuits (CMCSA, T, VZ, CHTR worried about "years" of litigation); and legislative action to undo the move, with a cooperative congress apparently ready to act.
    • Other related stocks: CVC, TWC, CTL, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | 66 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 27, 4:45 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has joined peers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), in complaining to the FCC that Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) distorted the results of the FCC's AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction with its bidding tactics.
    • Verizon ran its own analysis of the data and concluded close coordination between Dish and its designated entities ((DEs)) that Verizon says created a false sense of demand and drove the price above market value.
    • For its part, Dish has been on the record about disclosing and gaining approval for its actions ahead of the auction, though the resulting total bids came in over even the high estimates.
    • Major players have been jockeying for position with the FCC ahead of a likely even more important low-band auction next year.
    • More on the FCC auction
    • Previously: AT&T: Dish's auction approach skewed results, needs restriction (Feb. 20 2015)
    • Previously: T-Mobile's Legere calls for spectrum-auction rule changes (Feb. 18 2015)
    | 5 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 9:09 PM
    • Reactions to the FCC's landmark net neutrality vote from the telecom industry were unsurprisingly negative -- though perhaps surprisingly vintage in a few cases.
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) says the move is "certain to lead to years of litigation" and that it doesn't believe provisions "adopted when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president should be stretched to govern the 21st century Internet."
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) -- who had already threatened certain litigation -- is no stranger to weighing in on its policy blog, where today it feared "revisiting the decision, over and over and over": "Instead of a clear set of rules moving forward, with a broad set of agreement behind them, we once again face the uncertainty of litigation, and the very real potential of having to start over – again – in the future."
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) -- which hastily issued a manually "typewritten" release dated 1934 -- doubled down on their blog with a statement in Morse code.
    • Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) expects the action will "add fees to customer bills, create regulatory uncertainty and lead to years of litigation."
    • Several parties are noting the same key issue: We haven't read the order yet. The details of the document, when they come, are likely only to set off a new round of pointed reactions.
    • More reactions, including the positive side
    • Previously: Facing new broadband era after FCC vote, related stocks stable for now (Feb. 26 2015)
    | 88 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 1:39 PM
    • In the wake of the FCC's new regulations, key telecom and Internet stocks are tracking mostly where they were prior to the vote -- in part due to the fact that the vote's likely outcome was baked in, but also because details (including any late changes) are yet to be published.
    • The FCC majority must review and respond to the dissenters before publishing the result, which they will provide on the Web when it's ready.
    • Key stocks largely unchanged from the morning: Comcast (CMCSA -1.2%), Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.9%), Cablevision (CVC +1.3%), Charter (CHTR -1%), Centurylink (CTL +0.4%), Frontier (FTR +0.9%), Cogent (CCOI -1%).
    • AT&T (T +0.9%); Verizon (VZ +0.4%); Dish Network (DISH -0.6%); DirecTV (DTV +0.1%).
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) -- whose traffic is such that the regulatory difference in its delivery costs may mean as much as $100M/year -- is up 1.6%. Interconnection fees may yet need some clarification.
    • For its part, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) uses its old-fashioned typewriter to put out a press release for "Feb. 26, 1934" warning that rules "written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph" won't work today.
    • Speaking of Verizon: Next up will be lawsuits. Courts invalidated the FCC's last two attempts at net neutrality, most recently in January 2014.
    • Wheeler statement on vote
    • Previously: Report: AT&T, Verizon will sue FCC immediately after reclassification (Feb. 04 2015)
    | 42 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 1:01 PM
    • The FCC approves tough net neutrality restrictions on the Internet -- reclassifying broadband services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act -- on a party-line vote of 3-2.
    • Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly opposed the measure.
    • To open applause, Chairman Tom Wheeler said the action is an "irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one -- whether government or corporate -- should control free and open access to the Internet."
    • Pai thinks the result of reclassification will be even less competition, and calls the rules a "Kingsbury Commitment for the digital age ... If you loved Ma Bell in the 20th century, you will love Pa Broadband in the 21st."
    • Prior to the key net neutrality vote, the commission voted along the same party lines to pre-empt laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that put restrictions on municipal broadband initiatives.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, TWC, CTL, CHTR, FTR, T, VZ, NFLX, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    • Previously: FCC begins convening for historic net neutrality vote (Feb. 26 2015)
    | 62 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 10:29 AM
    • The FCC is ready to begin a meeting at which it plans a historic vote on re-regulating Internet providers, though a bit of the drama has gone out of the vote as Congressional Republicans yesterday conceded approval is likely.
    • That's not to say some things aren't still in flux this morning: Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn is pressing Chairman Tom Wheeler for some more clarity on one part of the proposal, and Google lobbying on the "sender pays" issue has apparently moved Wheeler to last-minute revisions.
    • The vote is expected to end 3-2 in favor of Title II regulation, along party lines.
    • Republican commissioner Ajit Pai continues his full-court press against the rules and will hold his own response press conference after the meeting.
    • Meanwhile, Wheeler's proposal may not go far enough to achieve its goals, if key loopholes remain available to service providers.
    • The FCC will start meeting at 10:30 a.m. ET, and will first vote on whether to pre-empt laws in North Carolina and Tennessee restricting municipal broadband.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | 25 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 2:50 AM
    • The FCC is expected to approve Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed "net neutrality" rules today, which will regulate broadband providers more heavily than in the past and restrict their power to control download speeds on the web.
    • The vote comes after a year of jostling between net neutrality advocates and cable and telecom companies, which are expected to launch a volley of lawsuits should the new rules be passed.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | 66 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 24, 3:59 AM
    • Republicans are increasing pressure on the FCC to delay Thursday's net neutrality vote, saying the public needs time to see and review the plan.
    • The proposal has been subject to heated battle since Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifying broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more strictly overseen telecommunications service.
    • Supporters of the approach say that without such rules, broadband companies could charge tolls to websites for their fastest speeds, while critics say the plan would give the agency the authority to regulate pricing.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | 32 Comments
  • Mon, Feb. 23, 2:33 PM
    • Google (GOOG -1.4%) has struck deals with Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) to have the Google Wallet payments app pre-installed on Android phones sold by the carriers, starting later this year. The Web giant is also "acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property" from the carriers' Softcard payments JV, which never fully got off the ground.
    • TechCrunch reported of Google's interest in Softcard last month. Thus far, Wallet's adoption has been hurt by limited support from carriers - Sprint was the only major U.S. backer - and retailers, as well as consumer reluctance to embrace NFC-based payments. However, the launch of (NFC-based) Apple Pay, along with the broader rollout of NFC-capable terminals and chip-and-PIN payment systems (they make card swipes a little less convenient) is altering the landscape.
    • The deal comes a few days after top Android OEM Samsung announced it's buying LoopPay, creator of a mobile payments solution that works with standard card-swipe terminals.
    • Mobile payments plays include NFC reader maker On Track Innovations (OTIV -5.7%) and payment-processing/telemetry services provider USA Technologies (USAT -2.7%).
    | 15 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 19, 9:02 PM
    • T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) gained 2.7% today (and another 0.5% in late trading) following its strong Q4 report this morning.
    • In the company's call today, CEO John Legere stretched like Armstrong to make a technical point that TMUS is actually the third-biggest U.S. carrier: He says most carriers stop counting "dead" MVNO accounts after 60-90 days, while Sprint (NYSE:S) waits six months. So Legere says Sprint is overcounting by 1.7M customers and is actually behind T-Mobile.
    • CFO Braxton Carter tells the Financial Times that the company's guidance (on the low side of expectations) is "conservative" and expectations are high: "We are still taking major flow from the duopoly (T, VZ) ... We are very pleased with our first-quarter momentum."
    • T-Mobile should take a Q1 hit in front-loading customer acquisition, but it expects free cash flow to turn positive at some point this year.
    • Aside from record customer growth (fueled in part by aggressive promotion), the company pointed to highly watched synergies with its MetroPCS brand -- projecting to reach full run-rate synergies of at least $1.5B by 2016. Net present value there is expected to be $9B-10B, up from original $6B-7B projection.
    • That's finally "kicking in," says Craig Moffett: "Synergies from the PCS deal, a key driver of our bull case, are coming in sooner and higher than expected" and that the firm "has at last turned the profitability corner."
    • Related: T-Mobile US (TMUS) Q4 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript (Feb. 19 2015)
    | 15 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 18, 6:15 PM
    • T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) chief John Legere takes to the blog to excoriate the FCC's recent AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction as a "disaster" for consumers (even if a success for the Treasury), and to call for revised rules in the future.
    • Legere complains about AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who'll use deep pockets to "corner the market on available spectrum at nearly any cost."
    • He notes: "To add insult to injury, the FCC’s rules actually allowed companies that don’t provide wireless service at all to buy up huge amounts of spectrum and sit on it for ten years!" ... a sure shot at Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), who's also taken criticism for using affiliated investment entities to garner a 25% discount on their spectrum stockpiles.
    • Legere says he's calling for action to avoid "epic failure" in next year's auction of low-band spectrum -- which will be highly contested and even more crucial to wireless companies' ability to reach further into buildings.
    • He wants at least half the available low-band reserved for competitors who aren't the "Twin Bells" (the FCC will restrict AT&T and Verizon, though not as much as Legere would like) and wants to ensure spectrum is put to use and not "collected and traded like financial securities."
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) mainly sat out the last auction but is sitting on spectrum that others may covet.
    • More FCC auction news
    | 28 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 18, 10:21 AM
    • Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), is departing that role to direct the transfer of Verizon's wireline assets to Frontier Communications, and then the 61-year-old Mead "expects to retire."
    • John Stratton, chief of global enterprise and consumer wireline, is taking over as president of operations with responsibility for wireless and wireline business.
    • Regulatory approvals for the Frontier transfer are still expected to be months away.
    | 1 Comment
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Company Description
Verizon Communications Incis a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its two segments are Wireless and Wireline.