& cplSiteName &

Capex Trend Points to Less Seasonality – Analysts

Dan O'Shea

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
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
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. 
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.
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.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
WiCipedia: Grace Hopper Promotes Diversity, Girl Scouts Code & How to Thrive
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 10/21/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Telecom Italia Plots Digital 'Overlay,' Not Transformation
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/17/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.