Analysts' Views: Part 1

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Analysts' Views: Part 1

Reading Jeff Kagan's take on the Big 3 Telcos - Ma Bell, Pa Bell and C-Link - makes me think that analysts only read press releases. Or just talk to the PR department.

In that piece, Kagan says he is talking about wireline, but his view of AT&T is based almost entirely on mobility. To be fair, most of Ma Bell's attention is cellular - even in Mexico and Latin America it is all cellular all the time. Yet Kagan calls AT&T innovative. Really? Frontier is innovative on the wireline side. AT&T hasn't added SMS to landline yet. They dumped CallVantage for a white-label of RC. They spent millions on hack-a-thons to get an app store that I have no idea if it ever launched. Ma Bell doesn't consider itself to be a telecom provider any longer, something that I guess Kagan wasn't aware of.

BTW, the DirecTV deal isn't about wireline either. It is about mobile video and cord cutters. Kind of like what the VZ-AOL deal was about: monetizing mobile traffic now that ARPU is stagnant.

Calling Pa Bell a fast follower is fair (probably the only part of the report I agrree with). There are two ways to look at cellular -- either it is driven by handsets (which means control is given to the handset manufacturer) or you build the best network in the land. VZW did a little of both. However, to call VZ a leader in the wireline space is ridiculous. After the FiOS experiment, VZ has basically shed half of its wireline business (as of this last deal with Frontier for FL, TX, CA). So how are they a leader in wireline? They can't even find their MCI fiber assets. Their wholesale division has a phone that rings in a locked closet that no one has a key to. So tell me, Jeff, on what planet are they wireline? And buying AOL was a mobility move.

CenturyLink was the third leader in wireline. Kagan should have chosen Frontier. C-Link has been mainly about cloud and data center since its acquisitions of Qwest and Savvis. It was a smart pivot to realize that old Sprint-Unity (later Embarq), rural CenturyTel and former US West wireline assets were probably not going to be driving your stock price. Plus when you talk cloud to The Street, they don't understand it, but it is the buzzword that makes their blood flow. And data center is right up the Wall Street row.

Whenever I am on an analyst call, I often wonder what those folks do after the call. Because for the most part, I am not sure they are doing any research on the companies they report about. Nor do they talk to other telcos. Maybe TDS and Frontier need to take Kagan to dinner.



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