The Wall Street financial analysts who watch the nation's carriers are in a bit of a tizzy this week because Verizon and AT&T, the two dominant players in the market, are warning of pressure on earnings and margins from promotions and higher subscriber growth in the fourth quarter. The analysts are worried because they think the competition from T-Mobile US and Sprint could get more intense. I think that'd be fine if that happens. If Verizon and AT&T lost profits and customers to Sprint and T-Mobile, I'd say that would be a grand development for the U.S. market and would be broadly beneficial for consumers.
Dark fiber has re-emerged as the latest fashion trend in the wireline telecom industry, and is primarily targeted at wireless backhaul, enterprise customers and traditional carriers. For wireless carriers, dark fiber lets them maintain complete control over their service experience, meaning if they want to increase capacity, they can do it on their own timeline. Special report
Whether it's a traditional carrier that needs to fill in a coverage gap, a content company that wants control over its infrastructure, or a school district that wants to be able to flexibly scale bandwidth to fulfill the growth of digital learning initiatives, we address these issues in our latest special report, Dark fiber creates new fortunes for ILECs, cable and CLECs.
At a nondescript office building here, Verizon Wireless puts devices through a torture test. The carrier's Device Lab, its main device testing facility, is located here, about an hour's drive southwest of New York City. In fact, the complex is Verizon's original headquarters, before it moved a short drive away to Basking Ridge in 2005. The device testing lab still plays a critical role in Verizon's operations, and has likely grown in importance over time as smartphones have grown more complex and integral to the lives of the carrier's customers. Here is a photo tour of that facility.
The FCC is forcing bidders in the AWS-3 spectrum auction to place new bids on 95 percent of the licenses for which they are eligible or face the prospect of not being able to make any more bids. The shift to "stage two" of the auction process, with the attendant change in bidding rules, is another indication that bidding is starting to wind down in the auction, which has gone on nearly a month.
A top Verizon Communications executive said the carrier doesn't plan to reduce spending on its wireless network, despite the fact that it has largely completed its nationwide macro LTE buildout. At the same time, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said the carrier plans to increase its margins in its wireless business over time.
While Verizon Wireless did not provide specific subscriber growth figures for the fourth quarter, the carrier indicated it will report strong momentum in the quarter. Verizon's confidence in its fourth-quarter performance, with more than three weeks left in the year and with the holiday shopping season in full swing, speaks to the challenges Sprint and T-Mobile US face in eating into Verizon's subscriber base.
With bidding in the AWS-3 spectrum auction winding down, financial analysts think Dish Network is likely going to walk away as a major winner, especially if it can secure paired spectrum licenses in major markets. According to a research note from analysts at New Street Research, that would give Dish leverage over Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, which have likely spent big at the auction.
In the LTE downlink speed race, Verizon Wireless is the top carrier, taking a lead over competitors T-Mobile US, AT&T and Sprint.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is expecting strong December sales thanks to a new promotion Sprint launched on Friday to cut customers' service bill prices in half if they switch from Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility and buy a new Sprint phone.