Verizon to sell off towers and part of fixed-line business – report

Verizon Communications, the parent company of US operator Verizon Wireless, is about to sell off some of its assets including mobile towers and parts of its fixed-line business, a report by the Wall Street Journal has claimed. The company is said to be selling the assets in several separate deals whose value could be over $15 billion.

Following Vodafone Group’s sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless a year ago to Verizon Communications, the US telco has been juggling a large debt. The company also just accrued some further costs as it acquired mobile spectrum licences for $10.4 billion in the AWS-3 auction last week.

The firm’s CEO Lowell McAdab recently said it may divest some of its assets to focus more on the mobile business, which amounted to almost 70% of total revenues ($87.6 billion), and wireline including fixed-line telephone and broadband to around 30% in 2014.

It was also reported AT&T, the biggest winning bidder in the AWS-3 spectrum auction, is borrowing more cash to pay the $18.2 billion for the bands it won. The WSJ claimed it is also on the lookout for possible buyers for its data centres.

Meanwhile in other news, the WSJ has also reported the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is about to implement new, tougher rules on broadband providers over net neutrality. The article sited sourced ‘familiar with the matter’.

Under the rules internet services would be treated like a public utility and service providers would be under the same kind of regulatory scrutiny as telcos. The regulation, which apparently would fully embrace the idea of net neutrality, would amount to a significant extension of the agency’s powers.

Net neutrality has lately emerged as one of the hot topics of the industry, with many experts and members of the telecommunications community making arguments for and against the principle. The rules would to stop internet service providers from blocking, slowing down or speeding up specific websites in exchange for payment.

Speaking at the Congressional Forum on net neutrality in September, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said: “We also have a duty- a duty to protect what has made the internet the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented…That is why I support network neutrality. I believe the FCC must find a way to put open Internet policies back in place. We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind.”

As reported by, Verizon late last year threatened the FCC with litigation over the matter. In 2011, Verizon filed a claim against the FCC over its Open Internet Rule, and finally in 2014 it was determined the agency had mis-regulated, forcing it into amending its policy.

Although the idea of ensuring a fair and equal internet for all is a sound one, the issue is not quite so simple. Net neutrality rules would also target agreements between broadband companies and providers such as Netflix to ensure streamlined content streaming.

Another argument against net neutrality regulation is the claim it would stifle investment in networks.   However, companies including Amazon and Google, have said a tiered-internet where some had privilege over others would kill competition.

  • Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies

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