& cplSiteName &

Capex Trend Points to Less Seasonality Analysts

Dan O'Shea
5/2/2014
100%
0%

Could carrier capital spending become less seasonal and more linear from quarter to quarter in the future?

The communications equipment research team at Raymond James & Assoc. believes that this could happen over time, and that there may already be evidence that it happened to some degree during the first quarter of 2014.

In a research note, Raymond James analysts say AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) in particular reported first-quarter capex above typically observed industry patterns. AT&T spent about 27% of its full-year forecast capex in Q1, and Verizon spent almost 25%, while patterns observed over several years suggest carriers usually spend around 21% of their annual capex forecast during the first quarter, with the second, third and fourth quarters playing out at around 25%, 25% and 29%, respectively.

"We are left suspecting that AT&T and Verizon might spend above the midpoint of their forecasts; whereas, typically, operators underspend capex forecasts," the note states. "Furthermore, we believe carriers intend to reduce seasonality going forward and will strive for more linear patterns in the coming years."

The first-quarter capex upswing did not carry through the entire carrier sector. For example, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. maintained forecast spending patterns for the quarter, the analysts say. However, as the two biggest carriers in the US, AT&T and Verizon wield the most influence on any shifts in capex trends.

The long-term effect of this possible new trend on equipment vendors in not so clear. Blaming "seasonality" for tepid first-quarter results is about as regular occurrence as, well, the change of seasons, in the vendor sector, and any signs of more linear spending don't appear to have altered the first-quarter vendor earnings reports we have seen thus far. Also, because neither AT&T nor Verizon have changed their full-year capex forecast as of yet, vendors that rigidly set their expectations by typical seasonal trends could face "downside risk" if quarterly spending proves to be more linear throughout this year.

Of vendors with some exposure to AT&T's and Verizon's spending trends, the Raymond James team notes that Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR), Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN), and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) didn't report a direct effect from the trend, though it appears that CommScope Inc. did. It may be worth noting that Juniper and Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), the latter of which doesn't have large exposure to the Big Two carriers, both did report increasing service provider spending overall during the first quarter that seemed to defy the usual Q1 doldrums. (See Juniper Rides Service Provider Revenue Growth and Infinera Confirms Level 3 Deal.)

Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
BRN
50%
50%
BRN,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/3/2014 | 11:37:57 AM
Re: Seasonality of CapEx spend
In Telecom, the established firms spend isn't impacted much by the actual seasons.  The first calendar quarter is traditionally low due to new budgets coming out, focus by the internal financial teams closing the previous year and scrutiny on results before launching into tremendous spend.  Couple that with the vendor lead times after filling a usually higher Q4 (as noted approx 29%) for their customers and there you have it. 

 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/2/2014 | 3:58:18 PM
Re: Capex unaffected by a harsh winter?
Any reason why capex spending is reducing seasonality?

For that matter, why is it seasonal at all -- other than, as Dan noted, weather, which is a big deal in most of the country. 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/2/2014 | 3:43:40 PM
Re: Capex unaffected by a harsh winter?
I would think that the harsh winter had an impact -- most areas of the country were affected in one way or another, not just one region. So choosing to work in better climates wasn't really an option.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
5/2/2014 | 12:23:49 PM
Capex unaffected by a harsh winter?
It makes me wonder if capex could have been up even more if not for the godawful winter in the US this year?

For instance, housing starts in the US were down 5.9% year-on-year in Q1 in part because of the snow and the polar vortex weather.

I suppose national carriers might have a bit more flexibility in what part of the country they work over the year compared to the more local building trade.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives