Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam, a man not known for mincing words, sat down with JP Morgan analyst Phil Cusick at the investment firm's Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference May 20. Below are nine key takeaways from their conversation.
1. Verizon isn't planning to buy Dish Networks.
"We just did a $130 billion merger, in my view," said McAdam, referring to Verizon buying out Vodafone's portion of Verizon Wireless. "So, I don't feel the need to do anything else at this point. You could debate the merits of a DirecTV/AT&T deal, but I think it made sense for both of those parties. … I know there are reports out there that we're talking to Dish. I can tell you that that's somebody's fantasy. There have not been any discussions and there aren't any discussions going on with Dish."
2. That's not to say Dish couldn't benefit Verizon.
"Now, I think Dish has some interesting assets and there are things that [companies] like Verizon and Dish could do together," said McAdam. "But I don't feel that owning a satellite company is something that I'm finding intriguing at this point. And we're much more interested in the video transport, over-to-the-top, mobile-first sort of application, versus a linear play."
3. It doesn't really matter if the little guys merge.
"I don't spend a lot of my time worrying about whether there is consolidation," said McAdam. "We can certainly compete in a four-player market. If there becomes a [three-player] market, the economists would argue we'd probably be better off. There will be a period of distraction during approval process. … After that, typically the three-player markets are more stable than four-player markets."
4. Verizon is totally participating in the AWS wireless spectrum auction.
McAdam congratulated Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on what he's been able to orchestrate around the wireless spectrum incentive auction planned for mid-2015.
"AWS makes sense for us," McAdam said. "You've seen us do some trades here recently with T-Mobile, where we got AWS and we gave them some of the 700 A and B. … So I am expecting to participate fully in AWS."
5. Broadband is a bigger business than pay TV.
"The broadband pipe and the over-the-top play is where we want to make sure we are well-positioned, versus continuation of linear TV," said McAdam. "Because the content costs are going up so much, I think a pure broadband play, for us, is at least as attractive—or I would argue a bit more attractive for us—and we are encouraged by that trend."