Verizon On 700 MHz: Rollout In 2010; Penetration To Hit 400-500 Percent; No Urgency To Buy More

Joseph Weisenthal
Friday, April 4, 2008; 1:00 PM

Nearly $10 billion poorer, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) CEO Ivan Siedenberg described the company's 700 MHz spectrum acquisition a "transformative opportunity." Now that the quiet period has been lifted, it's time to start explaining the bidding and laying out the plan ahead. The main message, on a conference call mainly led by Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam: it's all about the opportunities in data.

Growth opportunities: McAdam rejected the conventional viewpoint that the industry is maturing because its penetration rates are growing closer to 100 percent: "The constraint that we've had just thinking about our industry around just population has to be modified." As expressed when Verizon first announced its open network initiatives, there are plenty of opportunities beyond person-to-person communications. Other electronics, digital media, automotive, fleet tracking and gaming applications were mentioned. As for where growth could go: " Three to four to 500 percent is not only likely, it's probable."

The rollout: At this point, there's nothing new to be said on capex. The timeline looks like this: This year, they're still in the process of finalizing standard, but will begin field trials with certain key partners. In 2009, advanced field trials will begin, along with the selection of vendors. 2010 will see the actual rollout and coverage acceleration. Throughout the call, McAdam talked up the strategic benefits of being aligned with Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), which brings benefits in terms of scale and experience.

More spectrum?: For now they're good: "Going forward there is no urgency for us to do any spectrum purchases."

Benefit of the C-block: "We saw this as an opportunity to really supercharge our growth if we could procure a clear nationwide spectrum." Verizon wants to appeal to developers with a platform that will be low cost and offer access to to the widest population.

Slides (.pdf)


Google: We Bid To Trigger Open Access; Was Willing To Acquire Spectrum @ CTIA: Quiet Period Is Ending; Qualcomm, Verizon And Others Address Spectrum Auction Now That Spectrum Auction Is Over, Attention Turns To White Spaces Spectrum Results Are Out; Google Bids But Verizon Wins

© 2008 ContentNext Media Inc.