About Level 3 Communications, LLC
CenturyLink provides cyber links throughout the country on one of the longest fiber networks in the US. Historically a regional wireline local and long-distance telephone provider, it's connecting with the times by transforming into a broadband and network services provider for business, residential, and government clients. The company is the one of the largest US wireline telecom companies, with about 450,000 route miles of fiber optic cable globally, and it's the incumbent local carrier in about 35 states. It spends around $3.5 billion a year on capital projects to build out its network. In 2017, CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications merged in a $34 billion deal.
CenturyLink operates in two main segments with the Business segment accounting for three-quarters of sales. The segment provides private line, broadband, Ethernet, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), network management services, colocation, and managed hosting and cloud hosting services for enterprise, wholesale, and governmental customers, including other communication providers.
The Consumer segment, about 25% of sales, offers broadband, wireless, and video services, including the Prism TV service. It also offers local and long-distance phone service as well as satellite TV through DirecTV and wireless service through Verizon.
The company's "other" segment, which includes federal payments for serving rural areas, accounts for the rest of revenue.
Aside from its global fiber optic cable operations, CenturyLink's network includes about 910,000 miles of copper plant; more than 360 colocation facilities and data centers globally; about 37,500 route miles of subsea fiber optic cable systems; and more than 150,000 Fiber On-net buildings.
CenturyLink operates a terrestrial and subsea fiber optic long-haul network throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, which connects to its metropolitan fiber network operations. The company, based in Monroe, Louisiana, also provides telephone services as an incumbent local telephone company in more than 35 states.
Sales and Marketing
CenturyLink reaches business customers through offices in major and secondary markets in the US and bigger markets in the some 60 countries in which it operates. Marketing to residential customers includes direct sales representatives, inbound call centers, telemarketing, and third parties, including retailers, satellite television providers, and digital marketing firms.
Between 2014-2017, CenturyLink's revenue steadily inched lower, a total of $439 million, due to declining consumer sales.
In 2018, CenturyLink's revenue jumped 33% to $23.4 billion, an increase of $5.8 billion from 2017, on the strength of the Level 3 acquisition. Revenue from CenturyLink's legacy operations dropped $935 million in 2018 from 2017 from lower voice and collaboration, transport and infrastructure, and IP and data services sales.
The company lost $1.5 million in 2018, reversing a $1.4 million profit in 2017. It had higher expenses in 2018, including a $170 million tax payment while it received a sizable tax benefit in 2017.
CenturyLink had $488 million in cash and equivalents in 2018 compared to $551 million in 2017. Operations generated $7 billion in 2018, while investing activities used $3.1 billion and financial activities used $4.1 billion.
The company has significant long-term debt of $35.6 billion and interest expense of about $1.5 billion (in 2018). The debt could limit its capability to respond to business opportunities and challenges.
The network is at the heart of CenturyLink's business and its strategy. The company delivers video streaming, applications, and services related to the Internet of Things (IoT), and emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality and still-to-come 5G wireless technology over the network.
Already big with 265,000-route miles of fiber in the US, the network expanded with the addition of Level 3's 200,000 route miles of fiber. In 2019, CenturyLink planned $500 million in additional capital expenditures, which could reach $3.8 billion for the year, for network expansion as well as building additions, and digital initiatives.
CenturyLink moved to reduce its debt in 2019, reallocating capital to debt payments. The reduction should lower the company's cost of capital, return cash to shareholders, and provide flexibility to respond to market opportunities and interest rate changes. It also cut its dividend from $2.16 per share to $1 per share.
The consumer remains an integral part of CenturyLink's plans. The company is working to improve network speeds and the customer experience. It has invested in broadband to supply speeds of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps to more service areas. The company also has simplified its pricing plans.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The $34 billion-dollar merger of CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications, which closed in November 2017, created one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the US. The combined company's network connects more than 350 metro areas in the US and it has a presence in more than 60 countries. While each company has a nationwide network, they say their combination brings together complementary assets and not result in less competition. With Level 3 carrying some $10 billion in net operating losses, the combined company's tax bill should be lower, freeing up cash flow for developing more infrastructure.
CenturyLink expanded its capabilities in IT services with the acquisition of SEAL Consulting, a provider of SAP tools for enterprise business and technology needs.
In 2016 CenturyLink added a security element to its networking business with the acquisition in 2016 of netAura. The company specializes in engineering, developing, and consulting on managed security technologies.
1025 Eldorado Blvd STE 4000
Broomfield, CO 80021-8255
Phone: 1 (720) 888-2750
Employer Type: Privately Owned
Chief Pilot: Michael Delay
Partner Support Manager South Central Region Channel Partner Program: Susanne Dewey
Principal Engineer: Rich Moore
Employees (This Location): 2,100
Employees (All Locations): 5,300
Little Rock, AR
Baton Rouge, LA