Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO of Frontier (NYSE: FTR), has a lot on her plate these days.
Wilderotter, a telecom industry veteran who spent various long-running stints at AT&T, Microsoft and the former McCaw Cellular, has her biggest challenge on her hand to date: integrating the assets it just bought from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) in 14 states into its own fold.
Following CenturyTel's (NYSE: CTL) move to acquire the former Embarq, Frontier's announcement that it would purchase Verizon's rural lines was arguably the second largest M&A deal in the wireline segment of the telecommunications industry in the past year.
Getting the final approval from the last few states and the FCC had its inevitable challenges. Two states, including Illinois and West Virginia, protested the deal loudly, citing that the service provider lacked the financial or technical wherewithal to make the cutover a success.
But with the state and federal approvals behind them Wilderotter and Frontier are going through the good PR motions with an online FAQ (frequently asked questions) tab designed to assure existing customers that it will be there to support them.
Already, the service provider has made some progress with one of its hotly contested markets--West Virginia. It appears that Frontier is using West Va. as one of its catalyst states to be cutover from Verizon's systems with a completion date of July 1. The company has also committed money to improve basic PSTN services and expand its broadband footprint.
Obviously, Wilderotter and Frontier face the unfair precedent set by FairPoint, which recently got approval for its Chapter 11 reorganization plan, in acquiring Verizon's New England lines. Whether it's fair or not, industry watchers will be on the lookout for any mistake.
If Wilderotter and her team pay the same careful attention its counterparts CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL)and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) which face ongoing and inevitable line loss, Wilderotter's main obstacle will be engaging with customers and convincing them, state by state, that they can carry on and improve services.