Less than a year ago, investors could buy all the Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) they wanted at a price in the low 40s. Now after announcing impressive third quarter earnings, shares are again closing in on their all-time high in the 60s, set back in 1999 when America’s leading telecom was known as Bell Atlantic.
As long-time readers know, I’ve viewed Verizon worthy of a much higher valuation for some time. For one thing, it’s far more powerful than Bell Atlantic was in the late 1990s, after successfully transitioning from regional local phone monopoly to the country’s most extensive and advanced wireless and broadband wireline network.
Along the way, the company has eclipsed and absorbed a host of erstwhile rivals (remember MCI?). And it’s now in position to lead communications’ greatest leap forward to date: The launch of 5-G networks that will triple global data traffic in three years, enabling a flood of new applications from nearly instantaneous downloads and mobile virtual reality to remote operation of vehicles.
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