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Verizon Sees Convergence Driving Market

"The overall communications market is expanding due to convergence," said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's CEO, speaking at a conference in New York earlier this week. This expansion will not be just a linear function of combining voice, data and video into a single offering, said Seidenberg, but a much broader expansion of telecom spending. Verizon estimates the overall U.S. telecom services market will grow from $440 million in 2004 to $570 million in 2009. Almost all the growth is projected to come from home entertainment or communication services, wireless services, and enterprise service. To capitalize on this opportunity, Verizon is pursuing a long-term strategy of building its FiOS consumer brand, upgrading its wireless network for 3G, and acquiring MCI. Seidenberg said key differentiators for the upcoming FiOS TV service will include 175 all-digital video and music channels, competitive pricing, more HD channels (over 20) than cable competitors, at least 1,800 VOD titles, and a much more friendly interactive programming guide. Furthermore, early market trials for FiOS TV in Keller, Texas, have been "nothing short of spectacular." A consumer take rate of 30 percent has been well ahead of the company's expectations.

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