Top communications company Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) will kick off next week with second-quarter earnings bright and early Monday. Let's see what's in store.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? There are 24 Wall Street analysts weighing in on Verizon. Of these, 13 have buy ratings on the stock, and 11 say hold. In the Motley Fool CAPS community, 2,381 investors have rated the company and give it a collective four-star rating out of a possible five.
  • Revenues. The average revenue expectation from analysts is $24.2 billion this quarter, up 4% from last year.
  • Earnings. The average analyst is pegging GAAP earnings at $0.65 per share.

What management says:
Just as with main competitor AT&T (NYSE:T), investors have been particularly concerned about the impact of a weakening economy on growth in Verizon's services. CEO Ivan Seidenberg is confident that the organization can put money to work in the right places to keep the good times rolling, though. He says he's "confident of our position over the long term because we have further opportunities to drive revenue growth and further opportunities to eliminate costs."

One of those opportunities was gobbling up major regional player Alltel. If the deal goes through as planned, Verizon will be well ahead of AT&T in subscribers and should have a much easier time integrating Alltel's network than Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) did with its merger.

What management does:
Verizon has continued a nice upward trend in margins. The percentages are small, but when you apply them to billions in revenue, it makes a big difference on the bottom line.

Margins

12/06

3/07

6/07

9/07

12/07

3/08

Gross

60%

60.1%

60.5%

60.4%

59.9%

59.8%

Operating

16.1%

16.5%

16.8%

17.2%

17.7%

18%

Net

7%

6.8%

6.7%

5.9%

5.9%

6%

All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
We already know that Verizon added 1.5 million wireless subscribers this quarter, proof yet again that it doesn't need an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone on the shelf to drive growth in wireless. Just offering other compelling devices, such as Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberrys and Motorola (NYSE:MOT) handsets, in combination with a reliable network of services has proved fruitful.

But as attractive as the wireless business is, the company's fiber-optic expansion and FiOS services offered on top of it are a big part of Verizon's growth story. The broadband services in combination with wireless growth play a big role in Verizon's future, so continued success in both areas is key.

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 Fool contributor Dave Mock counted the ice cream truck driver as one of his heroes as a kid. He owns shares of Motorola and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. Sprint Nextel is an Inside Value pick. Apple is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy never wore parachute pants, even when they were cool.