Verizon Eyes Independent, Converged Future
Verizon's No. 1 priority in 2014 is to complete its spinoff from Vodafone and wow the market with integrated services made possible by its independence, Lowell McAdam, the carrier's chairman and chief executive, said Tuesday.
Speaking at a Citi conference, McAdam said that arranging the Verizon Wireless buyout from former parent Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) was the most significant move for Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) in 2013, and that getting the purchase closed is its first priority this year. The deal is on track to close this quarter following both companies' shareholder meetings this month, he said. (See: Vodafone Agrees to $130B Verizon Stake Sale.)
It might seem like business as usual for Verizon, since its co-parent had always been hands-off and overseas, but converged services are a huge priority now. Verizon has 5 million FiOS TV customers, more than 5 million broadband subscribers, a nationwide LTE footprint, and content relationships with big names like the National Football League. Combine those, and "we're a very logical [carrier] to take that and make it seamless across the different technologies," McAdam said.
"Five years from now, if we're just the wireless company we are today, then that hasn't been successful, even if it is financially," he said. "What makes it a home run is the ability to leverage every asset Verizon has and provide new services to customers than what they have today."
He didn't detail what new services that may mean, except to say mobile will be at the center of everything, covered in a layer of cloud and security, which McAdam called the hottest thing Verizon has going in its portfolio right now. He also said Verizon plans to explore partnerships with over-the-top content providers to see where a pure OTT play will take it. (See: Verizon: Major Apps Move Cloud-ward in 2014.)
This converged strategy will include stopping some products, like its joint venture with the cable companies, and refocusing on certain aspects of the enterprise market, which he called challenging. (See: Verizon, MSOs Kill Wireless JV and Why Verizon Needed a Cloud Reboot.)
When asked about competing on price and engaging in the customer-grabbing war that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US Inc. are waging, McAdam made it clear that approach is not for Verizon. In a jibe at AT&T, he said that real customer loyalty can't be bought with $200 credits -- those customers will just flee right back. (See: AT&T Lures T-Mobile Subs With $450 Promise.)
"If all four carriers have robust LTE networks, then we start to differentiate based on the solutions we provide customers and the service-level agreements," he said. "Price competition, going after each other's customers like that, I think is typically short lived."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading