Verizon holding capex spending steady for 2010

Verizon Communications CFO John Killian said the telecom firm will keep its capital expenditures roughly flat in 2010, a sign Verizon Wireless' LTE network buildout is not putting undue strain on the company's resources.

Verizon CFO John KillianSpeaking at an analyst conference, Killian said Verizon expects to spend between $16.8 billion and $17.2 billion on capital expenditures this year, in line with its spending for 2009. Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon and Vodafone, plans to launch 25-30 commercial LTE markets in 2010, covering 100 million POPs.

The executive returned to a theme that Verizon has hit upon quarter after quarter: that it can continue to grow its postpaid subscriber base and does not need to turn to prepaid for growth. Killian did not provide specific estimates, but said Verizon expects strong wireless subscriber growth in the first quarter, though he also acknowledged prepaid wireless service would start to pick up as well. TracFone's Straight Talk prepaid offering runs on Verizon's network, and in the fourth quarter Verizon had 1 million net subscriber additions from resellers out of the carrier's 2.2. million total net wireless subscriber additions.

Killian also touched on pricing, noting the carrier would not make any "irresponsible" pricing changes. In January, Verizon reduced the price of its unlimited calling by $30 to $69.99, but also began mandating data plans for some of its handsets that are not smartphones.

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