Telecoms Flat on Earnings Caution -- Telecoms Roundup

Shares of telecommunications companies were flat ahead of earnings reports.

Japanese telecom company SoftBank Group plans to form a joint venture with Australia's Lendlease Group to buy about 8,000 cellular sites across the U.S., challenging tower operators that dominate the industry.

Analysts at one brokerage said the outlook for cell-phone tower operators such as American Tower remains relatively bright, however.

Recent speculation about a merger between two of the four major U.S. cell-phone carriers has weighed on the prices of tower operators, said analysts at brokerage Morgan Stanley, in a note to clients. "We expect to get more details on consolidation one way or another in the coming weeks, but continue to point to the Tower names as strong operators with favorable business models," said the Morgan Stanley analysts. "While a merger announcement would likely push the Towers lower, we continue to view a four to three merger as a stretch."

In a separate note, analysts at brokerage Morgan Stanley pointed to a trend of "unbundling" among consumers when it comes to television, internet and phone service.

"For investors, the value of bundling services is often a given, but consumers are increasingly unbundling," said the Morgan Stanley analysts. "Our survey results support what we see in the market, where stand-alone services are winning -- T-Mobile in wireless, cable in broadband, and Netflix in video."

Rob Curran,

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2017 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)