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Verizon Communications (VZ)

  • Wed, Feb. 4, 1:11 PM
    • Despite their CFO just last month saying certain customers would "leave us for price and we're just not going to compete with that," Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is cutting $10/month off the cost of most of its data plans.
    • Customers have some flexibility but will have to opt in to the new prices.
    • Verizon also said it would offer a one-time $100 credit to those coming in to switch from another carrier.
    • Taken together, the moves are the clearest sign that VZ may feel heat from ETF-refund moves by other carriers, including Sprint's (S +2.6%) "cut your bill in half" promo.
  • Wed, Feb. 4, 12:47 PM
  • Wed, Feb. 4, 11:42 AM
    • Breakdown of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's op-ed on net neutrality: "Enforceable, bright-line rules" that ban paid prioritization ("fast lanes") and blocking/throttling of services, including for mobile broadband.
    • The investment key for related stocks: "All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. ... My proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling."
    • FCC voting is scheduled for Feb. 26.
    • Related stocks: (CMCSA +2.8%); (CVC +2%); (TWC +3.1%); (T +0.6%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +2.6%); (DTV +1%); (CCOI +3.9%)
  • Wed, Feb. 4, 11:31 AM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has released an op-ed hinting at the commission's new stance on net neutrality rule -- and it suggests utility-like regulation for fixed and wireless broadband.
    • "This week, I will circulate ... proposed new rules to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months."
    • Wheeler calls directly for Title II authority in "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC."
    • Stocks on the move: (CMCSA +3.3%); (CVC +2.9%); (TWC +4%); (T +0.8%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +3.3%); (DTV +1.2%); (CCOI +4.3%)
  • Mon, Feb. 2, 4:19 PM
    • Speculation about how hard the FCC would come with new regulations on "net neutrality" tilts toward "more aggressive" as sources tell the WSJ the agency is seeking a significant expansion of its authority.
    • In summary, the changes would take mobile and fixed broadband firms (like T, TWC, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, LBRDA) from being lightly regulated entities into a regulatory structure more like the traditional phone companies/telecoms, treating them more like public utilities.
    • The upshot: A ban on "paid prioritization," where service providers block or slow access to some websites/destinations depending on payments.
    • The rules would put interconnection (deals such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) arranges for content delivery) under Title II standards and the deals would be put to an "unjust/unreasonable" standard for evaluation.
  • Mon, Feb. 2, 2:44 PM
    • More auction-funding fallout as Verizon (VZ +1.8%) is close to selling more than $10B in assets, including towers and parts of its wireline business, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    • The telecom needs to cover $10.4B in licenses it bid on in last week's FCC AWS-3 spectrum auction, as funds are due to the government by March 2.
    • Verizon already faced debt pressure in buying out Vodafone from their joint venture for $130B.
    • AT&T (NYSE:T), facing its own funding challenge, is reportedly seeking buyers for some of its data centers.
  • Sat, Jan. 31, 1:47 PM
    • After learning which way AT&T (NYSE:T) went (high) and which way Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) went (low) in the 11-week FCC wireless spectrum auction, most attention focused on Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH): What are they up to?
    • The satellite firm took just short of half of the available licenses (and saved over $3B by cannily working through small-business partners) but doesn't offer mobile service -- yet.
    • Dish's fortunes in this auction were linked to those of Verizon, which is widely considered a potential buyer or lessee of Dish's spectrum assets. But Dish's Charlie Ergen has pursued wireless firms before (MetroPCS and Sprint (NYSE:S)) and may see wireless mobile as the next path forward from a slower-growing business.
    • “I think [Ergen's] strategy is built around a confidence that spectrum will only become more valuable going forward,” says former FCC commissioner Robert McDowell.
    • DISH closed the day out down 4.3%, slightly below where it was sitting before the auction results were released.
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 5:46 PM
    • In non-auction FCC news, the agency will add rules that let it review terms for the Internet service interconnects that govern deals between providers and heavy bandwidth eaters -- particularly including Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
    • The move is a first blush of net-neutrality regulations to come.
    • Producers like Netflix, and YouTube would prefer a ban on interconnect fees, while service providers (CMCSA, T, VZ) are arguing for no limit on negotiated fees.
    • The rules are set for a Feb. 26 vote.
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 1:14 PM
    • Heavy volatility for Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), which has fluctuated from down 6.5% to its earlier -3.3%, following details of major bidder amounts in the FCC's record wireless spectrum auction.
    • Dish reportedly bid $10B and their participation was heavily scrutinized -- especially for what it might mean, whether Dish was bidding to add spectrum or just push prices for rivals.
    • The company was also tied to Verizon (NYSE:VZ), who might have an interest in Dish's existing similar spectrum assets, depending on its bidding here. The relatively lower spending by Verizon might mean hidden value in Dish's spectrum if Verizon takes an interest.
    • Others: (T +0.8%); (VZ); (TMUS +0.4%)
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  • Fri, Jan. 30, 1:06 PM
    • The FCC releases its list of winners in the record-setting AWS-3 auction.
    • In short: As speculated, AT&T (NYSE:T) opened up the checkbook, bidding $18.2B; Verizon (NYSE:VZ) bid $10.4B; Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) had a big presence, bidding $10B ($13.3B gross); T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) bid $1.8B.
  • Fri, Jan. 30, 2:04 AM
    • Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) is suing Verizon (NYSE:VZ), accusing the company of falsely advertising the "fastest WiFi available".
    • The complaint filed states that Verizon has been installing new network routers for up to $199.99, despite knowing that Cablevision offers the same routers for its Optimum network, free of charge.
    • Cablevision also called the advertising an effort to stymie its launch of "Freewheel", a WiFi voice, text and data service, that could cut into Verizon's sales.
  • Thu, Jan. 29, 1:04 PM
    • Par for the course in what has become intense competition in wireless telecom, the FCC's latest spectrum auction (AWS-3) received record bids of $44.9B in 341 rounds that started Nov. 13.
    • Expectations were that the total might come between $10B-$20B, above the $10B reserve price. Only a very few investors thought the sale might top $35B.
    • Paired spectrum licenses -- those focused on major metro areas, and without government users that must be moved off first -- got the big bids.
    • Analysts anticipated that AT&T (NYSE:T) may have been spending more than Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) -- upward of $20B -- as news came that AT&T entered into $11B in credit pacts.
    • The high total also means multiple bidders aside from AT&T and Verizon likely fought hard for licenses in major metros including New York and Los Angeles. Sprint (NYSE:S) didn't take part, though Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) did.
    • Winners will be released by the FCC within days.
  • Mon, Jan. 26, 1:57 AM
    • Not only is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) preparing a new cellphone service that will dial up pressure on the wireless industry’s business model, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) is also prepping one.
    • Google’s new package will hunt through cellular connections provided by Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and WiFi "hot spots," picking whichever offers the best signal to route calls, texts and data, WSJ reports.
    • Meanwhile, Cablevision will start offering Freewheel next month, a WiFi-only mobile-phone service.
    • Such services pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
    • Previously: Report: Google to sell phone plans via Sprint, T-Mobile (Jan. 21 2015)
    • Previously: Analysis: Cable WiFi services to go mainstream (Oct. 06 2014)
  • Thu, Jan. 22, 9:47 AM
    • Verizon (VZ -1.7%) added 2.1M net retail wireless connections in Q4, of which 2M were postpaid (672K postpaid phones). That's up from 1.7M and 1.6M a year ago, and indicates Big Red continues to hold its own competitively in the fact of T-Mobile/Sprint's aggressive promotions. Prepaid net adds totaled 86K, and the wireless retail base stood at 108.2M (102.1M postpaid) at quarter's end.
    • On the other hand, Verizon's own promos led wireless service revenue growth to fall to 2.8% Y/Y (to $18.2B) from Q3's 4.8%, Q2's 5.9%, and 7.5% in Q1. And a 74.4% increase in equipment revenue (thanks to phone upgrade plans and the iPhone 6) led wireless op. margin and EBITDA margin to fall to 23.5% and 42% from 29.5% and 47% a year ago. Retail postpaid churn jumped to 1.14% from 1% in Q3 and 0.96% a year ago.
    • Wireline revenue fell 1.6% to $9.6B, with a 4.1% increase in consumer retail revenue (lifted by FiOS) offset by 3.7%, 4.6%, and 5.8% drops in small business, enterprise, and wholesale revenue. Wireline op. margin and EBITDA margin rose to 4.4% and 23.9% from 1.2% and 22.5% a year ago.
    • 145K FiOS Internet and 115K FiOS TV subs were added, bringing the respective bases to 6.6M and 5.6M. Wireline voice connections fell by 6.1% Y/Y to 19.8M.
    • Verizon is guiding for "at least 4%" 2015 revenue growth, above a 2.6% consensus. Adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be "consistent" with 2014 levels. While AT&T is cutting capex in 2015, Verizon plans to slightly increase capex to $17.5B-$18B from 2014's $17.2B.
    • Verizon says it has 15M Internet of Things (IoT) connections. BTIG's Walter Piecyk observes 1.7M tablets were sold, average data usage for More Everything accounts rose 50% Y/Y, and wireless EBITDA fell for the first time since 2011 (when the iPhone 4S launched).
    • Q4 results, PR
  • Thu, Jan. 22, 7:02 AM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ): Q4 EPS of $0.71 misses by $0.02.
    • Revenue of $33.2B (+6.9% Y/Y) beats by $530M.
    • Shares +0.48% PM.
    • Press Release
  • Wed, Jan. 21, 5:30 PM
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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.