Telecom carriers such as Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint (S) and T-Mobile-MetroPCS (PCS) also face a key earnings test as they try to repair hurricane-damaged networks and continue with recently announced network expansion and consolidation efforts.
As of Wednesday, Hurricane Sandy is reported to have hit the infrastructure of the nation's largest carriers. According to Reuters, the nation's leading carrier and New York-area powerhouse Verizon (VZ) may have come out of the storm with the worst damage after flooding and power outages hit the company's offices in Lower Manhattan, Queens and Long Island.
Late on Tuesday, Evercore Partners telecom analysts, led by Jonathan Schildkraut, put out initial calculations on the impact of Sandy on telecoms, highlighting key earnings and service scenarios."While it's still too early to determine how much the storm could impact the carriers financially, we do look at last year's storm, Irene, as a guide. Irene (in addition to Tropical Storm Leo) -- which notably impacted Verizon's total footprint -- led to roughly a 5-cent impact to 2011 EPS and slower FiOS customer growth in [the third quarter of 2011]. For 4Q12, we believe Sandy could have ramifications for VZ's FiOS net add guidance of 150-170 per quarter and 4Q EPS," Schildkraut wrote. The analyst also said he sees a potential impact on Sprint, as it tries to use $8 billion in new capital from its acquisition by Japan's Softbank to bolster its network and draw closer to industry leaders in smartphone service. Notably, the company may see a slowdown in its multi-year, multi-billion-dollar Network Vision service upgrade. To be sure, analysts' estimates may end up being premature. It could well be that damage from Hurricane Sandy is greater than projected. Follow @agara2004 -- Written by Antoine Gara in New York
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