It appears the wireless side of telecom may be resisting the recession.
Verizon, which operates the nation’s largest wireless voice and 3G data networks, says its wireless business grew in the last quarter . That’s a remarkable accomplishment in this economy and paints a striking comparison to the traditional fixed phone line business, which Verizon says “continues to show weakness.”
In the wireless wars companies can take no prisoners and the Fast Money traders along with CNBC’s Jim Goldman went hand-to-hand and blitzed Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg with some tough questions.
Goldman: What kind of capex spending will Verizon do to get itself out infront of the curve?
Seidenberg: Our company is well positioned to continue an aggressive level of capital spending. And at the same time our level of capital spending becomes a smaller proportion of our revenue base. So we’re in a unique position that as we expand markets we can spend a lot.
Goldman: Are you worried that you’ll spend too much too soon?
Seidenberg: That’s never been our problem.
Seidenberg also says Verizon's FiOS video and high-speed Internet service is seeing growth. That’s a good thing, the company intends to spend $23 billion over 7 years to build out its fiber optic network.
Melissa Lee: Do you forsee any price cuts?
Seidenberg: That hasn’t been our history. We add value. We keep improving our network. Overall we provide a better value proposition to our customers.
The CEO also talked about internet competition especially from Skype, a software that allows users to make telephone calls over the web.
Pete Najarian: Are you concerned about Skype?
Seidenberg: In an industry like ours that’s growing so quickly (it's natural) for a Skype to come in. But they're a one-trick pony type of thing. We offer everything that Skype can offer but we do it with a bigger bundle. Over time Skype will take some share but it tends not to be our customers.
What's the bottom line? According to Seidenberg, "in an economy that seems to have forgotten how to grow, the mobile industry keeps reminding us.