TDS made an acquisition. "TDS Broadband Service LLC, a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., and operated by TDS Telecom (TDS), announces the signed purchase agreement for InterLinx Communications LLC and its subsidiary Tonaquint Networks LLC in Southern Utah. The agreement includes over 170 miles of fiber optic transport." [PR] InterLinx sells wholesale fiber; Tonaquint Networks is an ISP providing broadband via fiber and fixed wireless.
CS&L, the telecom real estate investment trust (REIT) spun out of Windstream last year, owns the copper and fiber assets that Windstream exclusively leases for its network. CS&L bought Tower Cloud and PEG Bandwidth to add to its fiber portfolio. CS&L lost $4.1 million during its 2016 third quarter on $200M in revenue of which 82% comes from WIND. CS&L will "acquire Network Management Holdings LTD, a private company that owns and operates 359 wireless communications towers in Mexico, Nicaragua and Colombia" for $65 million. Towers are like real estate for a REIT. Fiber is still an asset to rent in a REIT. Surprisedly, Level3 nor others have spun out fiber, data centers or other assets into a REIT as a tax savings entity.
As I wrote my column for Internet Telephony magazine last night, Tony Thomas must have read my mind. WIND CEO says that SD-WAN and UCaaS are the driving forces for the WIND-EarthLink merger -- and where success will come from for similar telecom providers.
Cellular companies have started counting all Internet connected devices as number of handsets slows down. In the latest quarter results (see here), it is all about the notes:
"Subscribers include retail and wholesale connections of both traditional and new connected device categories (e.g. M2M). Verizon Wireless subscribers include Strategy Analytics' estimates for wholesale and connected device volumes. Sprint subscribers and net adds exclude affiliate subscribers, but include wholesale."
The blended ARPU is diminished by M2M and IOT device revenue. And this will continue. Family plans, hotspot add-on, tablets at $10 per month - these are the tricks that will need to improve going forward for ARPU to not slide off. Or they will have to break out M2M and IOT which they can't do.