Embarq - Top 10 Service Providers on the Cutting Edge


Why it's so cutting-edge: Can a local exchange carrier put itself in a better position by de-coupling from a major wireless carrier? That's what the former local wireline unit of Sprint is out to prove as Embarq, and with financial metrics pointing in the right direction a year after being spun-off from Sprint, Embarq may be ahead of schedule. Wireline access line declines are slowing, at least for now. The independent telco has more than a million customers, making it the fourth-largest telco in the U.S. Though there's a big gap between Embarq and the former Bell companies, carrier consolidation has given some of the independents room to move and gain new subscribers, as well as increased attention from equipment vendors who've seen their largest carrier customers consolidate and may be more urgent to strengthen other carrier relationships as a result.

In addition, Embarq has been assertive about building itself a new wireless customer base, with about 89,000 already signed up, according to recent company figures. Embarq also has been quick to invest in an FMC service called SmartConnect. More recently, it's discussed its intentions to move beyond satellite TV resale and add TV service over its own network. It also has Embarq Logistics bringing in some additional revenue.

But can it keep that edge?
That bit about TV over its own network is where some of the questions still lie. Will it be fiber-based or DSL-based, and what will the architectural specifics be? Embarq isn't saying yet, only acknowledging that it will test something in a single market next year. Hmm... the step-wise approach is probably smart and will give infrastructure costs a chance to come down a little further, but Embarq also needs to be sure a gradual approach doesn't ruffle feathers among customers.

On the subject of consolidation, Embarq has been rumored as an aquisition target for larger carriers. The other thing to watch in the independent telco market is how an influx of private equity investments affect competition, as well as the goals of individual companies.
Embarq - Top 10 Service Providers on the Cutting Edge