Frontier CEO sees AT&T acquisition as 'easy compared to others'

Acquiring AT&T's (NYSE: T) Connecticut landline operations and integrating them into Frontier's (Nasdaq: FTR) business won't necessarily be a piece of cake, but it will be easier than what confronted the carrier when it acquired assets from Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter said.

Maggie Wilderotter, Frontier


For one thing, Wilderotter said in a Forbes story, AT&T's assets come in a more manageable bite than the $8.6 million worth of access lines Frontier bought from Verizon four years ago. That acquisition tripled the carrier's size and covered 14 states. AT&T's assets are in a state where Frontier is headquartered and has operated for 40 years.

"We've done everything we can to mitigate risk," Wilderotter said. "We're a seasoned team. This deal is easy compared to others. And these are also good assets, not fixer uppers."

The deal, as might be expected, had come under fire in some quarters because it involved wireline assets that some see as a dwindling resource in a wireless-obsessed industry. Most investors, though, liked the deal, driving Frontier's stock up 8.6 percent. AT&T gets about $1.2 billion annually from its Connecticut properties--about 1 percent of its total annual revenues, according to a story in the CT Mirror.

That left Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wondering if it's also good for consumers.

"I look forward to reviewing what it means for the people of Connecticut and I will fight to make sure their interests are protected as (the Justice Department) and the Federal Communications Commission review this transaction," Blumenthal told the CT Mirror.

On the surface, at least, it means that 900,000 customers who get their wireline phone service and 415,000 who get their broadband from AT&T, and 180,000 U-verse TV subscribers, will get bills from Frontier if the deal goes through.

In October, in a conversation with Fierce Telecom, Wilderotter said that Frontier will aggressively pursue a broadband strategy. Without wireless assets, upgraded wireline infrastructure such as what AT&T has in Connecticut will go far in helping fulfill that goal.

For more:
- Forbes has this story
- the CT Mirror has this story

On the Hot Seat: Frontier's Wilderotter puts emphasis on enhancing broadband

Related articles:
Frontier-AT&T deal bad news for cable incumbents
Frontier acquires AT&T's Connecticut wireline ops for $2B
Frontier adds 26,800 new broadband subs in Q3, revenue declines to $1.18B