Looking at Verizon's
These people aren't looking for the next Amazon.com or Intuitive Surgical. They're just looking for slow, steady growth, and the promise of a reliable dividend. And for the most part, Verizon is doing a respectable job of delivering on that goal.
While rival phone giant AT&T
The domestic wireless division, boosted by the Alltel acquisition, accounted for nearly 58% of Verizon's Q3 revenues, compared with 40% of revenues for AT&T's wireless division. Verizon was still able to add 1.2 million wireless subscribers this quarter -- no doubt a sign of further market-share gains at the expense of T-Mobile and rival carrier Sprint
It's impossible to know for sure if Apple will eventually offer the iPhone through Verizon, once its exclusivity agreement with AT&T runs out. But with Apple having recruited engineers experienced with the EVDO 3G technology that Verizon uses, it's not farfetched to think that it'll eventually happen. And if it does, Verizon's superior network would give it a good chance of taking market share from AT&T. In the meantime, phones such as Research In Motion's
Verizon was also able to show a slight revenue gain in part because of the success of its FiOS "triple-play" platform for offering TV, phone, and Internet services. With 2.7 million TV subscribers, FiOS is well ahead of the 1.8 million TV subscribers claimed for AT&T's U-verse platform. And because FiOS, unlike U-verse, delivers fiber-optic connections directly into homes, it has also produced 3.3 million Internet subscribers looking to take advantage of its blistering connection speeds.
Verizon does have its shortcomings. Thanks largely to phone services weakness, its wireline division revenues fell by 4.8% compared with a year ago. And FiOS subscriber additions, at 191,000, fell steeply from the 300,000 reported last quarter, likely because of lower promotional spending. Verizon plans to offer FiOS to 18 million of the 32 million homes covered by its local phone network. Considering the pressures faced by the wireline division as a whole, that's an underwhelming number.
Even if slow and steady growth is the goal, Verizon can't afford to get too conservative with its network investments. But as long as it doesn't, the quality of its wireless and triple-play infrastructures should leave it on pretty sound footing to keep giving its shareholders what they want.
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