Verizon CEO predicts headwinds, hilarity and growth in 2009
Only next year, as Verizon finishes its goal of passing 18 million homes, will Verizon be in a position to determine what to do next, Seidenberg said. At least one analyst expects Verizon to overbuild FiOS in adjacent areas outside its local service footprint. Because the cost of fiber deployment has dropped significantly since Verizon began this project, Seidenberg said today, “Anything we do beyond 18 million homes would be on a completely different economic model.”
Though Seidenberg said he still expects growth in voice services (and it was unclear exactly which voice services he was referring to), he emphasized the importance of growing wireless and wireline data use and revenue. Though the investment community has struggled to determine which metrics are most helpful in evaluating Verizon’s success, he said average revenue per user (ARPU) may be the most important. Pointing out that Verizon has grown its ARPU while doubling its customer base, he said, “I can’t imagine anybody couldn’t fall in love with that every time they hear it. But I get up every day, and people say, ‘Your APRU’s going to hell in a handbasket.’ I don’t understand where they come up with this stuff.”
However, an analyst questioning Seidenberg at today’s event pointed out that two years ago, Seidenberg was predicting flat ARPU. Seidenberg conceded the point, adding that at the time, voice revenue was shrinking faster than data revenue was growing. But since then, new data applications have emerged, fueling data growth. “The industry needs to explain that better,” he said.
Seidenberg also hinted at a major announcement coming later today from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer at the Consumer Electronics Show regarding mobile advertising that involves Verizon. And amid a discussion of Verizon’s Blackberry Storm, he said cryptically, “We have some really hilarious devices coming out in the next couple months.”
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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