Verizon Wireless

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-06-04

Verizon Wireless is in an enviable position: with $14.2 million in revenue in 2000 and 27.5 million subscribers, it can afford to wait out a faltering market.

The company, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group of Great Britain, had planned to go public earlier this year.

"We stopped it. The market conditions havent improved, and were not going to fire-sale these shares," says Charles Lee, Verizon Communications chairman and co-CEO.

Still, he says, the company is aiming for a late-summer offering.

Verizon Wireless, led by President and CEO Dennis F. Strigl, has 90 percent market penetration in the U.S. It added 518,000 customers in the first quarter of this year, but Wall Street was expecting anywhere from 575,000 to 750,000 new customers. Lee had no comment on speculation that second-quarter subscriber growth would also be soft.

In contrast, Verizon Communications had 700,000 DSL customers at the end of the first quarter, and projects 1.2 million to 1.3 million by the end of the year.

"I think the data world is going to take off," Lee says. "Everyones spending millions and millions of dollars searching for killer apps."

Verizon Wireless new products include a mobile messaging service that can handle two-way text messaging, a mobile office that can dial the Internet or personal digital assistant from a cell phone, and a Smartphone that combines a PDA with a wireless phone. The company has also introduced prepaid wireless service.

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