Verizon Earnings: Can Big Red Crush Its 3 Biggest Rivals?

Verizon hopes to stay ahead of archrival AT&T, as well as up-and-comers Sprint and T-Mobile. Can it succeed? Find out what's ahead for Verizon earnings.

Jan 16, 2014 at 10:20PM

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) will release its quarterly report next Tuesday. With the company nearing completion of its complete takeover of its Verizon Wireless business, Verizon is relying on the U.S. market to provide the growth it needs to make investors happy. Yet, Verizon earnings could see pressure from AT&T (NYSE:T), as well as greater competition from Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS), all of which are upping their competitive game to make the most of the wireless opportunity.

Verizon is still the top dog in the U.S. wireless industry, but the competitive environment has already changed immensely in a very short time. Not long ago, many believed that Verizon and AT&T would be the only two survivors in the U.S. market, with also-ran carriers having failed to keep up with the pace of innovation that the two leaders had set. Yet, big capital infusions and mergers have made both T-Mobile and Sprint new forces to be reckoned with, and their actions have demanded responses from Verizon and AT&T. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Verizon during the past quarter, and what we're likely to see in its report.

Vz
Source: Verizon Wireless.

Stats on Verizon

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.65

Change From Year-Ago EPS

44%

Revenue Estimate

$31.04 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

3.3%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

3

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Verizon earnings keep climbing?
Analysts have gotten more enthusiastic in recent months about Verizon earnings, boosting fourth-quarter estimates by $0.05 per share. The stock has underperformed the market, although it has managed to gain almost 5% since mid-October.

Verizon's third-quarter results were primarily responsible for the gains the stock has seen in the past three months. The company reported a 4% gain in revenue, which translated into much larger profit growth of 29% from the year-ago quarter. Although the company's 101 million retail subscribers emphasize the importance of the U.S. market for Verizon, Big Red has also created a vast system of global cable on land and sea, helping to bolster initiatives for network expansion around the world.

Even as it seeks to complete its transaction to take full control of Verizon Wireless, Verizon has also looked for growth on other fronts. Last month, the company bought EdgeCast Networks, a content-delivery network that could help Verizon put together a holistic video offering that combines with its FiOS TV service and its purchase of media-streaming company UpLynk. That could prove important in Verizon's efforts to hold off AT&T, and differentiate itself from its smaller competitors.

Verizon also found itself recently at the epicenter of a huge shift in the Internet space, winning an appellate court decision that threatens to end the doctrine of net neutrality. With the decision, Verizon won the right to discriminate between certain Internet websites, or block access to legal websites, and many believe that the decision will give Verizon the ability to charge high-bandwidth users, like streaming video providers, more to deliver services to Verizon's customers.

Still, Verizon is also hoping to take advantage of its competitors to make lucrative strategic moves. Earlier this month, Verizon sold $3.3 billion in spectrum licenses to T-Mobile, with the deal giving Verizon $2.4 billion in cash, as well as $950 million in T-Mobile spectrum back in exchange. The money will be helpful in Verizon's efforts to expand its network, especially given the massive debt the company took on as part of the Verizon Wireless acquisition.

In the Verizon earnings report, watch to see how the company sees itself growing in the months and years to come. With such a fundamental shift in its business, Verizon needs to stay forward-looking in order to hold T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T at bay.

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