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Telecom Dividend Cash Bonanza – Landline Customers Drop, But Stockholder Payouts Rise

Phillip Dampier February 10, 2011 AT&T, Bell (Canada), Frontier, Qwest, Rural Broadband No Comments

The telephone landline business is hardly a growth industry, as an average of 5-7 percent of customers disconnect their home phone service every quarter, but you wouldn’t know that from the dividends being paid to stockholders.

From AT&T, Bell Canada, Frontier to Qwest — the companies that speak in terms of keeping their customer defection rates down are paying dividends that often exceed earnings.

Among the worst of all — Frontier Communications, whose outsized dividend is expected to reach 75 cents a share.  That, despite the fact analysts predict the phone company will earn only 40 cents a share or so this year.

Where do these phone companies expect to make their money?  Their broadband and wireless divisions.  AT&T and Bell Canada are able to cover landline losses with enhanced profits from their IPTV services like U-verse and Fibe.  Frontier and Qwest expect to survive on providing cheap-to-deploy DSL service in rural areas avoided by cable operators.

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  • Timothy James: Well, it's a really dumb endgame, since the country will just end up like pre-1980s Africa. I'm not sure whether the Republicans have a plan beyond "c...
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  • Kyle: It has nothing to do with consumer choice on broadband. It has to do with unelected bureaucrats in the FCC, who are not accountable to congress (the p...

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