| NEW YORK, April 18
NEW YORK, April 18 Verizon Communications Inc
has agreed to buy optical fiber from Corning Inc
for at least $1.05 billion over the next three years as the No.
1 U.S. wireless carrier aims to improve its network
infrastructure, the companies said on Tuesday.
Corning will sell up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber
to Verizon each year from 2018 through 2020, with a minimum
purchase commitment of $1.05 billion, according to the
agreement. The announcement sent Corning shares up 2.5 percent
to $27.21 in midday trading. Verizon shares rose 3 cents to
In a statement, Verizon said the deal would help it meet its
rollout schedule for a fiber-optic network in Boston.
The company also views fiber as critical for a next
generation, or 5G network. Verizon is testing a 5G fixed
wireless service with equipment maker Ericsson in 11 U.S.
markets and expects a commercial launch as early as 2018.
Both Verizon and competitor AT&T Inc have been buying
assets in preparation for 5G. On Friday, sources told Reuters
that Verizon is considering making a buyout offer for wireless
spectrum license holder Straight Path Communications Inc
that would top AT&T Inc's (T.N) $1.25 billion bid.
Verizon has said it would evaluate opportunities to build
out or buy fiber on a market-by-market basis. In February,
Verizon said it had closed on its acquisition of XO
Communications' fiber-optic network business for about $1.8
Verizon has also hinted at an interest in buying cable
provider Charter Communications Inc, which would give
it access to a fiber and cable network across 49 million
Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told investors in
December that a deal with Charter would make "industrial sense,"
igniting takeover speculation.
But in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, McAdam said the
company had not found the right "architectural fit" that would
justify doing a big deal.
(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Dan Grebler)