CenturyLink name to stay for legacy services despite Lumen c

CenturyLink name to stay for legacy services despite Lumen change

16 September 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The CenturyLink name will stay, but only for its copper-based consumer services, after the telco changes its name to Lumen Technology.

CEO Jeff Storey (pictured) told a Goldman Sachs conference yesterday that Lumen will also rebrand its mass-market fiber services for business and consumers as Quantum Fiber.

“We’ll operate with three brands in the market, the flagship brand being Lumen,” said Storey, who hinted that the three names would make it easier to sell off one of them.

The main Lumen name will be used for large enterprise, government and wholesale customers.

The company’s stock ticker on the New York Stock Exchange will change from CTL to LUMN tomorrow, Friday, he said. The group is already using lumen.com as its URL.  

“Each one of those brands speaks to those customers differently about the capabilities that we as a company bring to them,” said Storey.

For Quantum Fiber, “we have 170,000 buildings on net outside the legacy CenturyLink footprint”, he said. The CenturyLink group includes the former Level 3 Communications – of which Storey was CEO – as well as Embarq, Qwest and Savvis.

Brett Feldman of Goldman Sachs asked him whether the continuation of separate brands might allow the group to sell off some of the businesses. Storey wouldn’t speculate but said: “It certainly positions us to do so.”

After the Level 3 takeover, CenturyLink aimed for $850 million worth of synergy savings over three years. “We reached those after a year and delivered on those synergy targets within the first year.”

Now the company has “digital transformation targets of $800 million to $1 billion”, he said. “We’ve delivered $620 million so far.”

During the pandemic, 90% of the group’s staff have worked from home. “We modified our processes to do more remote installed, to do more self-installed, to make sure that we’re protecting our employees and our customers,” said Storey. But “Covid will have a dramatic impact on us this year just because of the impact it has on our customers.”

As a response the company will aim to expand its addressable market and “market share within those addressable market opportunities”.

He accepted that there were “a number of industries that have been pretty hard hit, [such as] airlines and hospitality and in some of the other predictable ones”. But for others, “we’ve been the lifeline to keep them in business … Infrastructure services have been the lifeline to keep them in business.”

Now there is a “transformation to wanting software defined networking capabilities”, he added. “We see our customers wanting us to provide that top to bottom perspective.”

But SD WAN services will cannibalise MPLS, he accepted. “There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of elements that [enterprise customers are] trying to manage in the network. And so we can help them orchestrate regardless of where those elements come from, whether they’re hardware or software or capacity.”

He added: “We have great fiber assets. We have great connectivity. We’re in all the pools of demand across the world, more than 2,200 data centres, more than 450,000 miles of fibre, 170,000 on-net buildings. Now we have connectivity deep and rich connectivity into all the networks of the world.”