Verizon's appetite for small cells could spell bounty for regional telcos

Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) plan to deploy more small cells could provide a bevy of backhaul opportunity for a host of regional telcos like Cincinnati Bell, FairPoint Communications and Lumos Networks. Because Verizon does not have wireline facilities in every market where it offers wireless, it will need to work with these telcos that are aggressively reinventing themselves as fiber-based broadband companies.  

Cincinnati Bell, for one, may have left the wireless business when it sold off its wireless spectrum to Verizon Wireless, but the telco is poised to maintain a large foothold in Cincinnati's wireless backhaul market. Ted Torbeck, CEO of Cincinnati Bell, recently revealed during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that it has already won a small cell backhaul contract with one of the largest wireless operators.

Cincinnati Bell has an interesting advantage in being able to respond to wireless providers' backhaul needs. The service provider retained a lot of its wireless engineering talent from its former wireless business, giving it a deeper understanding of the unique characteristics of wireless compared with some of its counterparts. For more on how Verizon's small cell moves could affect the regional telcos, check out this commentary by FierceTelecom Senior Editor Sean Buckley.