Verizon Communications Inc.
Verizon Communications Inc. (Verizon or the Company) is a holding company that, acting through its subsidiaries, is one of the world’s leading providers of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. With a presence around the world, we offer voice, data and video services and solutions on our networks that are designed to meet customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. Formerly known as Bell Atlantic Corporation (Bell Atlantic), we were incorporated in 1983 under the laws of the State of Delaware. We began doing business as Verizon on June 30, 2000 following our merger with GTE Corporation. We have a highly diverse workforce of approximately 144,500 employees.
Our principal executive offices are located at 1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036 (telephone number 212-395-1000).
We have two reportable segments, Wireless and Wireline, which we operate and manage as strategic business units and organize by products and services, and customer groups, respectively.
Wireless - Wireless’ communications products and services include wireless voice and data services and equipment sales, which are provided to consumer, business and government customers across the United States (U.S.).
Wireline - Wireline’s communications products and enhanced services include video and data services, corporate networking solutions, security and managed network services and local and long distance voice services. We provide these products and services to consumers in the U.S., as well as to carriers, businesses and government customers both in the U.S. and around the world.
As of December 31, 2018, Verizon and its subsidiaries had approximately 144,500 employees. Labor unions represent approximately 23% of our employees.
Our Wireless segment, doing business as Verizon Wireless, provides wireless communications products and services across one of the most extensive wireless networks in the U.S. Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless service provider in the U.S. as measured by retail connections and revenue. At December 31, 2018, Verizon Wireless had 118.0 million retail connections and 2018 revenues of approximately $91.7 billion, representing approximately 70% of Verizon’s aggregate revenues.
Cellco Partnership (Cellco), which originally held the wireless assets of Bell Atlantic, began operating as "Verizon Wireless" in April 2000 with both Vodafone Group Plc (Vodafone) and Bell Atlantic as partners, following Vodafone’s contribution of its U.S. wireless assets into Cellco. We acquired all of Vodafone’s indirect 45% interest in Verizon Wireless in 2014, which resulted in full ownership of Verizon Wireless.
Wireless Service and Product Offerings
Our wireless services are available to our customers receiving service under the Verizon Wireless brand, customers that obtain wireless products and services that operate on our network from resellers that purchase network access from us on a wholesale basis and customers that utilize Internet of Things (IoT) services via our network.
We offer our customers a wide variety of wireless services accessible on a broad range of devices. Customers can obtain our wireless services on a postpaid or prepaid basis. Retail (non-wholesale) postpaid accounts primarily represent retail customers with Verizon Wireless that are directly served and managed by Verizon Wireless and use its branded services. A single account may include monthly wireless services for a variety of connected devices. A retail postpaid connection represents an individual line of service for a wireless device for which a customer is generally billed one month in advance for a monthly access charge in return for access to and usage of network services. Approximately 96% of our total retail connections were postpaid connections as of December 31, 2018. Our prepaid service enables individuals to obtain wireless services without credit verification by paying for all services in advance.
We offer various postpaid account service plans, including unlimited plans, shared data plans, single connection plans and other plans tailored to the needs of our customers. Our unlimited plans, available to our consumer and business customers, offer, among other things, unlimited domestic voice, data and texting. Our unlimited plans allow customers to mix and match plans by line, with different benefits and inclusions beyond just traditional data access, voice and text. Our shared data plans typically feature unlimited domestic voice, unlimited domestic and international text, video and picture messaging, and a single data allowance that can be shared among the wireless devices on a customer’s account. This allowance will vary from time to time as part of promotional offers or in response to market circumstances. Customers on certain fixed-data plans may carry over unused data allowances to the next billing period, or stay online at a reduced data speed after using all of a data allowance for a billing period. Our unlimited and shared data plans include High Definition (HD) Voice and Video Calling on compatible devices, and certain plans offer additional services, such as Mobile Hotspot services and free roaming in Canada and Mexico on compatible devices. Our HD Voice services, enabled by Voice over LTE (VoLTE), deliver calls over our fourth-generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, and our Video Calling service combines an HD Voice call with real-time video. Our Mobile Hotspot service enables a customer to activate a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that can provide Internet access to multiple Wi-Fi enabled devices. Our unlimited plans provide customers the ability to stream DVD or HD quality videos, based on the service plan. We also offer various voice and shared data plans for business customers.
As of January 2017, we no longer offer consumers new fixed-term subsidized service plans for phones; however, we continue to offer subsidized plans to our business customers, and we also continue to service existing fixed-term subsidized plans for consumers who have not yet purchased and activated devices under the Verizon device payment program.
We also offer prepaid connection service plans that feature domestic unlimited voice and unlimited domestic and international text. We have both single line and multi-line family options, with individual line data plan selections ranging from 500 megabytes per month to unlimited data. Family prepaid accounts include a line discount based on the number of total lines. On compatible devices, our prepaid plans also feature video and picture messaging, HD Voice and Video Calling. Our metered prepaid plans include Mobile Hotspot services and allow customers to continue to access our data services at reduced data speeds after using their monthly allowance for 4G LTE high speed data. None of our prepaid plans require an annual contract or credit check.
Our international travel wireless services allow our customers to access voice, text and data services on many of our "World" smartphones, tablets or basic phones from various international destinations, dependent upon the customer's wireless plan. With TravelPass, customers are able to use their domestic talk, text and data allowances while traveling in Mexico, Canada and other countries where TravelPass is available for a flat rate per day.
Access to the Internet is available on all smartphones and nearly all basic phones. In addition, our customers can access the Internet at broadband speeds on notebook computers and tablets that are either wireless enabled or that are used in conjunction with separate dedicated devices that provide a mobile Wi-Fi connection.
We also provide network access needed to deliver various IoT products and services. We work with various companies that purchase network access from us to connect their Open Development certified devices, bundled together with their own solutions, which they sell to end-users.
We offer several categories of wireless equipment, including a variety of smartphone and other handsets, wireless-enabled Internet devices, such as tablets, laptop computers and netbooks and other wireless enabled connected devices, such as smart watches and other wearables, and our Hum product.
We use a combination of direct, indirect and alternative distribution channels to market and distribute our products and services.
Our direct channel includes our business-to-business sales operations and systems organization and is focused on supporting the wireless communications needs of consumers and local, regional and national business customers. Company-operated stores are a core component of our distribution strategy. Our "Next Gen Design" retail stores focus on our customer's evolving digital lifestyle.
Our indirect channel includes agents that sell our postpaid and prepaid wireless products and services at retail locations throughout the U.S., as well as through the Internet. The majority of these agents sell both our postpaid and prepaid products and services and do so under exclusive selling arrangements with us. We also have relationships with high-profile national retailers, which sell our postpaid and prepaid wireless products and services, and with various convenience store chains, which sell our prepaid products and services.
We operate in a highly competitive industry. We compete against other national wireless service providers, including AT&T Inc., Sprint Corporation and T-Mobile USA, Inc., as well as various regional wireless service providers. We also compete for retail activations with resellers that buy bulk wholesale service from wireless service providers for resale, including resellers that buy from us. Competition remains intense as a result of high rates of smartphone penetration in the wireless market, increased network investment by our competitors, the development and deployment of new technologies, the introduction of new products and services, offerings that include additional premium content, new market entrants, the availability of additional spectrum, both licensed and unlicensed and regulatory changes. Competition may also increase as smaller, stand-alone wireless service providers merge or transfer licenses to larger, better capitalized wireless service providers and as mobile virtual network operators resell wireless communication services.
The wireless industry also faces competition from other communications and technology companies seeking to increase their brand recognition and capture customer revenue with respect to the provision of wireless products and services, in addition to non-traditional offerings in mobile data. For example, Microsoft Corporation, Google Inc., Apple Inc. and others are offering alternative means for making wireless voice calls that, in certain cases, can be used in lieu of the wireless provider’s voice service, as well as alternative means of accessing video content.
We believe that the following are the most important competitive factors in our industry:
Network reliability, capacity and coverage. We consider a wireless network that consistently provides high-quality and reliable service to be a key differentiator in the U.S. market and driver of customer satisfaction. Lower prices, improved service quality and new wireless service offerings, which in many cases include video content, have led to increased customer usage of wireless services, which, in turn, puts pressure on network capacity. In order to compete effectively, wireless service providers must keep pace with network capacity needs and offer highly reliable national coverage through their networks. We believe that the depth and breadth of our network provides our fundamental strength and is the basis for our competitive advantage in the wireless marketplace.
Pricing. Service and equipment pricing play an important role in the wireless competitive landscape, with plans that address both the postpaid and prepaid customer. As the demand for wireless services continues to grow, we and other wireless service providers are offering service plans at competitive prices that include voice services, data access and text messaging, in some cases on an unlimited basis. Many other wireless service providers have also bundled wireless service offerings with other products while others offer promotional pricing and incentives targeted specifically to customers of Verizon Wireless. We and other wireless service providers, as well as equipment manufacturers, also offer device payment options, which provide consumers with the ability to pay for their device over a period of time, and device leasing arrangements. In addition, aggressive device promotions have also become more common in a highly penetrated market in order to gain share of subscribers interested in changing carriers.
Customer service. We believe that high-quality customer service is a key factor in retaining customers and attracting new customers, including those of other wireless providers. Our customer service, retention and satisfaction programs are based on providing customers with convenient and easy-to-use products and services and focusing on their needs in order to promote long-term relationships and minimize churn. To promote long-term relationships with our customers, we launched the Verizon Up program, which offers a variety of rewards to customers in exchange for points they earn in connection with their account-related transactions with Verizon Wireless. The program offers customers discounts on products, services and access to experiences, such as sporting events, shows and concerts.
Product and service development. As wireless technologies develop and wireless broadband networks proliferate, continued customer and revenue growth will be increasingly dependent on the development of new and enhanced data products and services. We continue to pursue the development and rapid deployment of new and innovative wireless products and services both independently and in collaboration with application and content providers. We also collaborate with various device manufacturers in the development of distinctive smartphones and other wireless devices that can access the growing array of data applications and content available over the Internet. We continue to focus on increasing the penetration of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices throughout our customer base. In addition, as the price for smartphones has continued to increase in the market, our device protection services have grown in importance for consumers.
Sales and distribution. A key to achieving sales success in the wireless industry is the reach and quality of sales channels and distribution points. We believe that attaining the optimal combination of varying distribution channels is important to achieving industry-leading profitability, as measured by operating income. We strive to increase sales through our company-operated stores, outside sales teams and telemarketing, web-based sales and fulfillment capabilities, our extensive indirect distribution network of retail outlets and prepaid replenishment locations, and through manufacturers of laptops and netbooks that can access the Internet on our network at broadband speeds. In addition, we sell network access to both traditional resellers, which resell network services to their end-users, and to various companies to enable wireless communications for their IoT devices or services.
Capital resources. In order to expand the capacity and coverage of their networks and introduce new products and services, wireless service providers require significant capital resources. We generate significant cash flow from operations to enable continued investment.
Our success will depend on our ability to anticipate and respond to various factors affecting the wireless industry. These include the factors described above, as well as new technologies, new business models, changes in customer preferences, regulatory changes, demographic trends, economic conditions and pricing strategies that bundle the services of wireless and cable competitors.
During March 2015, we completed a transaction with American Tower Corporation (American Tower) pursuant to which American Tower acquired the exclusive rights to lease and operate approximately 11,300 of our wireless towers and corresponding ground leases for an upfront payment of $5.0 billion. We have subleased capacity on the towers from American Tower for a minimum of 10 years at current market rates, with options to renew. Under the terms of the lease agreements, American Tower has exclusive rights to lease and operate towers over an average term of approximately 28 years. As the leases expire, American Tower has fixed-price purchase options to acquire these towers based on their anticipated fair market values at the end of the lease terms. As part of this transaction, we also sold 162 towers for $0.1 billion.
Our Wireline segment provides communications products and enhanced services, including video and data services, corporate networking solutions, security and managed network services and local and long distance voice services. We provide these products and services to consumers in the U.S., as well as to carriers, businesses and government customers both in the U.S. and around the world. In 2018, Wireline revenues were $29.8 billion, representing approximately 23% of Verizon’s aggregate revenues.
To compensate for the shrinking market for traditional copper-based products (such as voice services), we continue to build our Wireline business around a fiber-based network supporting data, video and advanced business services - areas where demand for reliable high-speed connections is growing. We continue to seek ways to increase revenue, further realize operating and capital efficiencies and maximize profitability across the segment. We are reinventing our network architecture around a common fiber platform that will support both our wireless and wireline businesses. We expect our "multi-use fiber" Intelligent Edge Network initiative will create opportunities to generate revenue from fiber-based services in our Wireline business.
Wireline Service and Product Offerings
We organize our service and product offerings by the primary customer groups targeted by these offerings - Consumer Markets, Enterprise Solutions, Partner Solutions and Business Markets.
Consumer Markets provides residential fixed connectivity solutions, including Internet, TV and voice services. We provide these services over our 100% fiber-optic network under the brand "Fios" and over a traditional copper-based network to customers who are not served by Fios. In 2018, Consumer Markets revenues were $12.6 billion, representing approximately 42% of Wireline’s aggregate revenues.
Internet services. We offer our Fios customers fast and reliable 100% fiber-optic Internet connectivity. As customers connect more devices in their home and stream more high definition video, the need for a fast and reliable Internet connection is growing. In 2017, we introduced our Gigabit Connection in the marketplace, offering speeds of up to 940 Mbps on download and 880 Mbps on upload. As additional cloud-based applications are introduced, we believe that customers will place an increasing value on upstream bandwidth performance that matches what they already receive for download. In other areas of our footprint where Fios service is not available, we offer high speed Internet (HSI) using Digital Subscriber Line technology.
Video services. We offer video service over our fiber-optic network. As of December 31, 2018, Fios video services were available to homes across 9 states, as well as the District of Columbia. We have several offerings available to our Fios TV customers, including
Fios Custom TV, which provides customers with seven distinct package offerings. Each package includes the local versions of the major broadcast stations and other similar local content and then adds on more than 45 specialty channels driven by popular viewership choices;
Fios Traditional TV, which provides customers with a variety of package offerings. The most basic package offering includes more than 15 channels including core networks while the other packages all include access to more than 280 channels.
Fios on Demand, which gives Fios customers the ability to watch content virtually anytime and anywhere, on any compatible device. Customers who subscribe to Fios Internet and video services also have the ability to upload their photos, music and videos to their personal Fios on Demand Library, which gives them access to this content via various data-capable devices.
Fios Multi-Room DVR, which provides customers the ability to record up to 12 shows at once and control live TV from any room in their home.
We continue to develop and enhance our video platform to maintain driving engagement and improving the customer experience.
Voice services. We offer voice services on our fiber and copper networks, providing local, long distance, and calling features.
Enterprise Solutions helps customers transform their businesses to compete in the digital economy, with solutions that adapt to increasingly dynamic needs for connectivity, security and collaboration. With the accelerating pace of digital transformation, mitigating risk, maintaining business continuity, and capitalizing on data to create personalized experiences are key priorities for global enterprise companies. Enterprise Solutions offers traditional circuit-based network products and services and advanced networking solutions, including Private Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet, and Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), and cyber security services, along with our traditional voice services, and advanced workforce productivity and customer contact center solutions. In 2018, Enterprise Solutions revenues were $8.8 billion, representing approximately 30% of Wireline’s aggregate revenues.
Networks. We offer a robust portfolio of network connectivity products to help our enterprise and business customers connect with their employees, partners, vendors, customers and, for our government customers, their constituents.
Internet. We offer our enterprise and business customers the ability to connect to the Internet via our Fios Internet and our dedicated Internet access services, which provide extensive bandwidth, configuration and billing options designed to address specific business needs.
Private Networks. Our private networking services connect multiple business locations securely through our Private IP and Ethernet services, generally via fiber-optic based connectivity. Point to point connectivity via Ethernet or Wavelength is also available.
Virtual and Software Defined Networks. We provide our enterprise and business customers with the ability to leverage the power of Software Defined Networking technologies, such as SD-WAN or Virtual Network Services (VNS), with easily ordered and deployed "on demand" capabilities. These services can function "over the top" of our network or those of other carriers, enabling significant customer flexibility, advanced security options and digital/software enablement of their network.
Advanced Communications Services. We offer a suite of services to our enterprise and business customers to help them communicate with their employees, partners, vendors, constituents and customers.
Voice over IP (VoIP). Our VoIP services enable communications via our managed IP based communications services for enterprise and business customers that seek a hosted IP communications/phone system or an IP based telephony service for on-premise phone systems or private branch exchanges (PBX).
Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C). Our UC&C services, an expansion of our VoIP services, provide our business customers with unified tools for communications and collaboration, such as instant messaging and presence, and audio, video and web conferencing.
Customer Experience/Contact Center. We offer our business customers the ability to deliver integrated support services to their own customers, employees or constituents. Hosted and on-premise versions are available, which include the ability to support remote agents and integration with our business customer’s back office systems and tools.
Security services. We offer a suite of management and data security services to help our enterprise, business and government customers protect, detect and respond to security threats to their networks, data, applications and infrastructure.
Core services. Core services include core voice and data services, which consist of a comprehensive portfolio of domestic and global solutions utilizing traditional telecommunications technology. Voice services include local exchange, regional, long distance and toll-free calling along with voice messaging services, conferencing and contact center solutions. Core data includes private line and data access networks. Core services also include the provision of customer premises equipment, and installation, maintenance and site services. We continue to transition customers out of copper-based legacy voice and data services to fiber services, including IP and Ethernet.
Partner Solutions provides communications services including data, voice, local dial tone and broadband services primarily to local, long distance, and wireless carriers that use our facilities to provide services to their customers. In 2018, Partner Solutions revenues were $4.7 billion, representing approximately 16% of Wireline’s aggregate revenues. A portion of Partner Solutions revenues are generated by a few large telecommunications companies, most of which compete directly with us.
Partner Solutions provides the following key services to both Wireless and Wireline carriers:
Data services. We offer a robust portfolio of data services with varying speeds and options to enhance our wholesale customers’ networks and provide connections to their end-users and subscribers. Our data services include high-speed digital data offerings, such as Ethernet and Wavelength services, as well as core time-division multiplexing (TDM) data circuits, such as DS1s and DS3s. In addition, we receive revenue from data services that is generated from carriers that buy dedicated local exchange capacity to support their private networks. We have also launched a dark fiber product for wireless carriers as demand for wireless data continues to grow and dark fiber plays a larger role in their network architecture.
Voice services. We provide switched access services that allow carriers to complete their end-user calls that originate or terminate within our territory. In addition, we provide originating and terminating voice services throughout the U.S. and globally utilizing our TDM and VoIP networks.
Local services. We offer an array of local dial tone and broadband services to competitive local exchange carriers, some of which are offered to comply with telecommunications regulations. In addition, we offer services such as colocation, resale and unbundled network elements in compliance with applicable regulations.
Business Markets offers tailored voice and networking products, Fios services, IP Networking, advanced voice solutions, security, and managed information technology (IT) services to U.S.-based small and medium businesses, state and local governments, and educational institutions. In 2018, Business Markets revenues were $3.4 billion, representing approximately 11% of Wireline’s aggregate revenues.
In addition to the traditional voice and networking products and Fios services noted in the Consumer Markets section above, Business Markets also offers traditional circuit-based network products and services, advanced networking solutions, advanced communications services, and security services, as noted in the Enterprise Solutions section above.
The wireline telecommunications industry is highly competitive. We expect competition to intensify further with traditional and non-traditional participants seeking increased market share. Current and potential competitors include cable companies, wireless service providers, domestic and foreign telecommunications providers, satellite television companies, Internet service providers, over-the-top providers and other companies that offer network services and managed enterprise solutions.
In addition, companies with a global presence increasingly compete with our wireline businesses. A relatively small number of telecommunications and integrated service providers with global operations serve customers in the global enterprise market and, to a lesser extent, the global wholesale market. We compete with these providers for large contracts to provide integrated services to global enterprises. Many of these companies have strong market presence, brand recognition and existing customer relationships, all of which contribute to intensifying competition that may affect our future revenue growth.
We believe the following are the most important competitive factors and trends in the wireline industry:
Bandwidth (speed) and network reliability. Consumers and small business customers seek fast and reliable connections for entertainment, communications and productivity. As Internet use increases, so do bandwidth requirements, both downstream and upstream. We and other network-based providers must ensure that our networks can meet these increasing bandwidth requirements. In addition, network reliability and security are increasingly important competitive factors for our Enterprise Solutions and Business Markets customers, which include state and local government and education (SLED) customers and small and medium business (SMB) customers. We continue to invest in our network to be able to meet growing bandwidth demand and provide reliable and secure networks.
Pricing. Cable operators, telecommunications companies and integrated service providers use pricing to capture market share from incumbents. Pricing is also a significant factor as non-traditional modes of providing communication services emerge and new entrants compete for customers. For example, VoIP and portal-based voice and video calling is free or nearly free to customers and is often supported by advertising revenues.
Customer service. Customers expect industry-leading service from their service providers. As technologies and services evolve, the ability to excel in this area is important for customer acquisition and retention. For our Consumer Markets and Business Markets customers, we compete in this area through our service representatives and online support. We provide our Enterprise Solutions customers with ready access to their system and performance information and we conduct proactive testing of our network to identify issues before they affect their customers. In our Partner Solutions business, service improvement is achieved through continued system automation initiatives.
Product differentiation. As a result of pricing pressures, providers need to differentiate their products and services. Customers are shifting their focus from access to applications and are seeking ways to leverage their broadband and video connections. Converged features, such as integrated wireless and wireline functionality, are becoming similarly important, driven by both customer demand and technological advancement.
Innovation. The delivery of new and innovative products and services has been accelerating. To compete effectively, providers need to continuously review, improve and refine their product portfolio and customer service experience and develop and rapidly deploy new products and services tailored to the needs of customers.
In the Consumer Markets business, cable operators are significant competitors. Cable operators have increased the size and capacity of their networks in order to deliver digital products and services. We continue to market competitive bundled offerings that include Fios Internet, TV, and voice services and we have introduced market offers targeted to our Verizon Wireless customers. Several major cable operators also offer bundles with wireless services through strategic relationships.
Customers have more choices for obtaining video content from various online services and that content can be accessed on a TV, computer, tablet or mobile phone. We expect the market will continue to shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings.
We expect customer migration from traditional voice services to wireless services to continue as a growing number of customers place greater value on mobility and wireless companies position their services as a landline alternative. We also face increasing competition from cable operators and other providers of VoIP services as well as Internet portal providers.
In the Enterprise Solutions market, competition remains high, primarily as a result of increased industry focus on technology convergence. We compete in this area with system integrators, carriers, and hardware and software providers. In addition, some of the largest IT services companies are making strategic acquisitions, divesting non-strategic assets or forging new alliances to improve cost structure and focus on solutions which are growth catalysts for technology spending. Many new alliances and acquisitions have focused on emerging fields, such as cloud computing, software delivery, communication applications and other computing tasks via the network, rather than by the use of in-house machines. Carriers have also utilized acquisitions to make significant inroads into enterprise outsourcing markets that have long been dominated by the major IT outsourcers.
Our Partner Solutions business competes with traditional carriers for long-haul, voice and IP services. In addition, mobile video and data needs are driving a greater need for wireless backhaul. Network providers, cable companies and niche players are competitors for this new revenue opportunity.
In Business Markets, customer purchasing behaviors and preferences continue to evolve. Solution speed and simplicity with a consumer-like "look and feel" are becoming key differentiators for both our SMB and SLED customers. SMB customers are seeking full life-cycle offers that simplify the process of starting, running and growing their businesses, while SLED customers want similar services that are high quality and secure, and that enable material improvement in citizen outreach, public safety and city infrastructure performance.
In April 2016, we completed the sale (Access Line Sale) of our local exchange business and related landline activities in California, Florida and Texas, including Fios Internet and video customers, switched and special access lines and high-speed Internet service and long distance voice accounts in these three states to Frontier Communications Corporation (Frontier) for approximately $10.5 billion (approximately $7.3 billion net of income taxes), subject to certain adjustments and including the assumption of $0.6 billion of indebtedness from Verizon by Frontier. The transaction, which included the acquisition by Frontier of the equity interests of Verizon’s incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in California, Florida and Texas, did not involve any assets or liabilities of Verizon Wireless.
The transaction resulted in Frontier acquiring approximately 3.3 million voice connections, 1.6 million Fios Internet subscribers, 1.2 million Fios video subscribers and the related ILEC businesses from Verizon. Approximately 9,300 Verizon employees who served customers in California, Florida and Texas continued employment with Frontier.
In December 2016, we entered into a definitive agreement, which was subsequently amended in March 2017, with Equinix, Inc. (Equinix) pursuant to which we agreed to sell 23 customer-facing data center sites in the U.S. and Latin America for approximately $3.6 billion, subject to certain adjustments (Data Center Sale). The transaction closed in May 2017.
In February 2016, we entered into a purchase agreement to acquire XO Holdings' wireline business (XO), which owned and operated one of the largest fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks in the U.S. Concurrently, we entered into a separate agreement to utilize certain wireless spectrum from a wholly-owned subsidiary of XO Holdings, NextLink, that held its wireless spectrum. The agreement included an option, subject to certain conditions, to buy NextLink. In February 2017, we completed our acquisition of XO for total cash consideration of approximately $1.5 billion, of which $0.1 billion was paid in 2015.
In April 2017, we exercised our option to buy NextLink for approximately $0.5 billion, subject to certain adjustments, of which $0.3 billion was prepaid in the first quarter of 2017. The transaction closed in January 2018. The acquisition of NextLink was accounted for as an asset acquisition, as substantially all of the value related to the acquired spectrum. Upon closing, we recorded approximately $0.7 billion of wireless licenses, $0.1 billion of a deferred tax liability and $0.1 billion of other liabilities. The spectrum acquired as part of the transaction will be used for our 5G technology deployment.
In August 2017, we entered into a definitive agreement to purchase certain fiber-optic network assets in the Chicago market from WideOpenWest, Inc. (WOW!), a leading provider of communications services. The transaction closed in December 2017. In addition, the parties entered into a separate agreement pursuant to which WOW! will complete the build-out of the network assets in 2019. The total cash consideration for the transactions is approximately $0.3 billion, of which $0.2 billion was received in December 2017.