Lumen evolves from a traditional telco to a technology company

The 2022 Lumen Global Analyst and Consultant Forum showcased Lumen Technologies’ (NYSE: LUMN) ambition to transform from a traditional telco to a technology company. Lumen’s capabilities in hybrid networking, edge computing, connected security, unified communications and more will help support clients’ transition to a distributed workforce while bolstering Industry 4.0 initiatives across multiple verticals.

“The Platform for Amazing Things” was the central theme of the forum and highlighted Lumen’s strategy of leveraging its vast global network footprint (450,000 global route miles of fiber and over 60 planned global edge computing nodes) and robust enterprise portfolio to serve as an enabler of digital transformation for clients.

Lumen will continue to face challenges such as diminishing demand for its legacy solutions, competition from 5G wireless providers, Comcast Business’ (Nasdaq: CMCSA) growing footing in the midmarket and international markets via its recent Masergy acquisition, and disruption from hyperscalers’ growing pursuit of private network opportunities. However, the vendor will benefit from its willingness to collaborate with the broader technology industry, including with hyperscalers and other telecom operators such as T-Mobile (NasdaqGS: TMUS), as well as its strengthening capabilities in consulting, implementation and managed services as Lumen becomes better versed in supporting IT solutions from a broader array of providers.

Impact and opportunities

Divesting its ILEC and Latin America assets will enable Lumen to fund its Industry 4.0 initiatives

Lumen will transition into a leaner and more profitable company over the next several years as it divests nonstrategic assets, including its Latin America business and ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) operations in 20 states. The divestments will enable Lumen to increase focus on its Industry 4.0 initiatives. Additionally, they will allow the company to concentrate on its more viable remaining ILEC operations in 16 states, which have higher fiber penetration, population density and enterprise demand than the pending divested markets. The divestments will also enable Lumen to target investments toward growth areas including fiber and enterprise portfolio expansion.

Business services revenue, which is experiencing persistent declines due to lower demand for legacy solutions and elongated sales cycles amid the pandemic, will account for a higher proportion of Lumen’s total revenue following the divestment of the company’s ILEC assets. To improve business services revenue, Lumen will increase investment in strategic IT solutions such as edge computing, security and managed services as clients modernize infrastructure and implement advanced use cases to improve operational efficiency.

Returning to top-line growth is a priority for Lumen, though the company expects revenue will continue to decline in 2022 despite growth in certain strategic services, such as edge computing. Lumen is targeting a return to revenue growth within two years as Industry 4.0 initiatives begin to offset legacy solution declines and Lumen’s consumer segment benefits from the expansion of its residential Quantum Fiber services to reach a total addressable market of 12 million locations over the next several years.

2022 Lumen Global Industry Analyst and Consultant Forum: A select group of industry analysts and consultants were invited to hear from Lumen Technologies leadership about the company’s business, technology and go-to-market strategies and goals. The event included sessions focused on technologies such as edge computing, cloud, SD-WAN and SASE, unified communications, and cybersecurity as well as customer case studies in verticals including manufacturing, the public sector, retail, education, food service and sports.