Home » Competition »Consumer News »Data Caps »Public Policy & Gov't »Rural Broadband »Verizon »Video »Wireless Broadband » Currently Reading:

Wall Street Encourages Verizon to Get Completely Out Of Landline/FiOS Business

Wall Street is encouraging Verizon Communications to sell off its landline telephone operations to clear a path for a potentially-profitable merger with British mobile phone company Vodafone Group Plc.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs Group are behind the research report, which suggests Verizon’s recent non-aggression treaty with Comcast and Time Warner Cable makes the sale of Verizon’s landline phone and FiOS fiber to the home network more likely. Verizon will earn a percentage of every cable TV/phone/broadband subscription sold, effectively making Verizon’s own wired network redundant. Potential buyers could include Frontier Communications, CenturyLink, or Windstream, which all have business plans that depend on landline networks fewer Americans are using.

Should Verizon clear away its legacy landline and FiOS networks, Goldman Sachs suggests, a merger with Vodafone would be a “clear fit” for the two companies.

“The remaining wireless and enterprise businesses would have faster growth and a clear fit with Vodafone’s assets and strategy, making it a more attractive merger partner,” Bloomberg News quotes from the report.

“Given that it no longer faces the threat of integrated cable competitors, Verizon could potentially spin off its remaining [landline] assets,” along with “large” pension and benefit liabilities, the Goldman analysts added.

Verizon would also eliminate its ongoing dispute with the two largest unions representing its landline workers — Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  Both unions are still trying to negotiate a new contract with Verizon after a brief, but contentious, summer strike. Verizon Wireless is almost entirely non-unionized.

Vodafone’s share price has been rising recently, perhaps anticipating a potential merger that would give Vodafone a stronger hand in the U.S. marketplace.

Verizon’s investment in its landline network, along with interest in expanding its well-regarded FiOS fiber to the home service, has remained stalled for the past few years.  Recently, the company indicated an interest in moving away from fiber optics to serve broadband customers, and rely on its wireless LTE 4G network instead.

Verizon’s new CEO Lowell McAdam comes from Verizon’s wireless division, and has not shared his predecessor’s enthusiasm for fiber upgrades.

Merger Partner?

While the prospect of an all-wireless future for Verizon may seem good for shareholders, consumers are likely to pay the price:

  1. The Justice Department is reviewing the antitrust implications of the non-aggression treaty between Verizon and its cable competitors;
  2. The sale of Verizon’s landline network to an independent provider could doom the company’s fiber optic network and limit rural Verizon customers to 1-3Mbps DSL;
  3. Verizon Wireless’ prices reflect its market share and lack of strong competition.  The company’s LTE wireless network, although fast, has suffered from reliability problems and is heavily usage-limited.  It may prove unsuitable as a home broadband replacement for rural customers;
  4. Reduced competition for telephone, video, and broadband will likely result in higher prices for existing cable subscribers, too.

Verizon is hardly the first phone company to ponder getting out of the phone business.  AT&T has been lobbying to rescind rural universal service requirements for years.  If successful, AT&T could abandon its rural landline network and provide customers with higher-priced cell phone service instead.

[flv width=”640″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/CWA Parody of Verizon Video.flv[/flv]

Verizon’s unionized workers are still fighting for a new contract, and released this parody video in response to a company-produced DVD mailed to union workers’ homes.  (3 minutes)

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
12 years ago

If Verizon gives up it’s ‘landline’, I lose my Lifeline support…and so do millions of other seniors who’s lives may be dependant on that Lifeline button (this is phone based). Digital goes out too frequently to be of service.

I tried it and was left without any emergency protection for 3 days while service was out. Had I had a heart attack during that time I would be dead … period!

Search This Site:


Recent Comments:

Your Account:

Stop the Cap!