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Outlook: Windstream’s Consumer Broadband Subscribers in 2016

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Windstream’s consumer metrics in 4Q15

In the last part of this series, we learned that Windstream’s (WIN) consumer and small business incumbent local exchange carrier revenue continued to shrink in 4Q15. This revenue stream fell ~2.7% YoY (year-over-year) to ~$0.40 billion in 4Q15. During the quarter, Windstream’s consumer revenue declined by ~2.3% YoY to ~$0.31 billion. The telecom company continued to lose high-speed Internet subscribers during 4Q15.

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As you can see in the above  chart, the telecom company’s high-speed Internet customers fell ~3.2% YoY to reach ~1.1 million in 4Q15. During the quarter, on a net basis, the wireline player lost ~14,500 high-speed Internet customers. This net loss figure was ~11,200 in 3Q15. Overall, the telecom player had net losses of ~36,500 in these customers in 2015.

Expectations for consumer broadband customers in 2016

During Windstream’s 4Q15 earnings conference call on February 25, 2016, Anthony W. Thomas, the telecom company’s CEO provided guidance on the company’s expected consumer broadband losses in 2016.

According to Thomas, “We expect to halve the number of customer losses we had in the Broadband business and that’s partially due to the fact that we now have these premium speed capabilities for our customers.”

Regarding 1Q16, he highlighted that “As I look towards Q1, just to give you a few glimpses into Q1, we’re really targeting something close to flat in terms of broadband unit trends.”

For diversified exposure to telecom companies in the US wireline space, you could consider investing in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

SPY held a total of ~2.4% in AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), CenturyLink (CTL), Frontier Communications (FTR), and Level 3 Communications (LVLT) at the end of December 2015.

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