Verizon CFO: COVID-19 hasn't affected us... yet

Verizon's Matt Ellis said the operator hasn't recorded any 'material' effects from the COVID-19 coronavirus so far, but he cautioned that could change 'if we see continued disruption.'

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

March 3, 2020

2 Min Read
Verizon CFO: COVID-19 hasn't affected us... yet

A top Verizon executive said that the network operator hasn't yet felt any "material" impacts from the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. At least, not yet.

"We haven't seen a material impact yet," Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said Tuesday at an investor conference. But that could change, he said, "if we see continued disruption."

The comments are noteworthy considering Verizon is a service provider and not an equipment vendor. Already executives from suppliers ranging from Apple to CommScope to Ericsson have been discussing how the spread of COVID-19 might affect sales of their equipment. That's not really a surprise considering China is where much of the world's electronics are made and the virus first showed up in that country. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Chinese officials prevented widespread travel in large regions, affecting manufacturing and shipping efforts there.

Indeed, Apple in part sparked a Wall Street selloff in recent days with a COVID-19 revenue warning. The stock market recovered a bit earlier this week, but the Federal Reserve just slashed interest rates in order to prevent an economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Verizon's CFO said the operator has not recorded any change in customer behavior due to COVID-19, nor has it seen any major significant effect on its supply of handsets or network equipment so far in the first quarter. But he acknowledged that supplies of handsets from vendors such as Apple could become sparse as the effect of factory closures trickles into Verizon's business. And he said Verizon could be affected in the coming months if the manufacture of network equipment is slowed.

The global wireless industry has already suffered a significant blow from the outbreak of COVID-19 following the GSMA's decision to cancel its annual MWC trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The event for years has stood as the centerpiece of the industry's annual travel calendar, and it typically draws roughly 100,000 attendees each year.

In other topics, Ellis said that:

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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