Sunday, May 01, 2005

SBC, not Verizon, is Biggest Bell of Them All

If you would look at the shares of Verizon this morning, you would come to a conclusion - VZ is the biggest phone company in the US. Well, that is just not true. At the end of first quarter 2005, SBC is the largest baby bell company. Yes, that’s right - bigger than Verizon, which for some odd reason gets more props on Wall Street than SBC. “I am challenging anyone to justify the 25% premium enjoyed by VZ shares relative to SBC,” says Dan Berninger, senior analyst with Tier1 Research. Maybe because Verizon made more money this quarter than SBC? ($1.8 billion versus $885 million for SBC?)

Still Dan’s argument is quite valid. In an apple-to-apple comparison, Verizon’s 1Q-2005 revenue was $18.18 billion, while SBC came in at $18.34 billion. As an aside, the two companies have roughly the same number of local access lines -Verizon 52.2 million and SBC 52 million. Verizon’s proportional share of wireless customers, is 25 million or 55% of 45.45 million, while SBC’s 60 percent share of Cingular’s 50.4 million brings the company 30.2 million wireless customers. Verizon has 3.9 million DSL customers, SBC has 5.6 million. Verizon has 18 million long distance customers, while SBC has 22 million. High capacity data revenues: Verizon $2.1 billion versus SBC $2.8 billion.

Techdirt on Verizon Wireless’ killer quarter. More from Om Malik.