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Verizon Extends Strong Network Support for Hurricane Season

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Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Free Report) announced stronger target-specific support preparations for the upcoming hurricane season. The announcement included a detailed list of the measures that the company intends to take during this period.

What Makes Verizon a Name to Rely on

Last year, amid hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, Verizon had industriously worked to provide maximum network support as well as monetary disaster relief to the affected areas, winning the loyalty and trust of customers. In a more recent incident, the heavy flooding in Ellicott City, MD, last weekend saw Verizon proactively supporting the recovery efforts by waiving off billing for affected customers, deploying necessary equipment to strengthen the network coverage and offering free charging tents to local recovery teams.

Verizon is known to work year-round to prepare its network for extreme weather, especially for the hurricane season, which officially commences from Jun 1. The company believes that it is best to be prepared for natural disasters, and has designed certain measures for it. Apart from mobile charging stations like last year, a few other support services to be rolled out during this season include availability of power backup, HVAC systems and fiber rings at cell sites and switching centers to enable availability of network in the event of power loss. There are specifically designed network structures in hurricane-prone areas for protection against category 5 winds. Also, placement of cell sites and switch facility HVAC systems on elevated platforms in flood-prone areas will ensure minimal damage to network.

Among its most important services, the company also lists ready availability of a number of portable emergency equipment that can be deployed quickly to strengthen or revive damaged network connections; and provision of fuel tankers, which are pre-positioned to allow quick response in affected areas in case of power loss. Further, standby surveillance drones will be available to help evaluate and respond to post-storm damage. An alert, trained and equipped response team, which has been prepared with regular Emergency Operation Center drills, will also be ready for action at the time of disaster. Additionally, a Public Safety Private Core will be there to back public safety measures, especially during times of high data traffic.

Apart from this, Verizon also offers tips on a few preventive measures to ensure continuous connectivity even during a disaster. Among these are ensuring that all devices are fully charged before the storm hits, enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts in smartphones to receive emergency alerts; keeping emergency phone numbers and email addresses handy; backing up information on the smartphone on Verizon Cloud in case the device is damaged; downloading weather applications for radar images, forecasts and warnings; storing wireless devices and chargers in re-sealable plastic bags; taking videos or photos of all possessions in the house before the storm hits.

How the Company’s Efforts are Paying Off

Verizon is dedicated to ensure maximum support to customers and non-customers alike. After proving its mettle and reliability during the storms last year, the company started 2018 on a positive note with 260,000 retail postpaid adds, 66,000 Fios Internet wireline adds, strong customer loyalty with 0.8% postpaid phone churn and total revenue growth of 4.7%.

Price Performance

In the past year, the stock has gained 3.1% against a decline of 12.3% for the industry.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

Verizon currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry space are BlackBerry Limited (BB - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI - Free Report) and Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. (UBNT - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

BlackBerry has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 18.6%.

Motorola has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8%.

Ubiquiti has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 18.6%.

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