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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Comcast Is Still Beating The Phone Company (CMCSA)(TWX)(T)(VZ)

Companies like AT&T are trading near their highs. T trades at $34.33 up from $23.35 earlier this year. Verizon, even with concerns about its huge $21 billion investment in fiber-to-the-home, trades at $38.30, at its 52-week high and up from a low of $30.

Maybe Wall St's enthusiasm for these stocks should be more tempered.

Comcast is rolling like thunder. The company's triple-play of phone, TV, and broadband is having unusual success. Comcast and its brothers in the cable business like Time Warner cable expect to have eight million voice-over-IP customers by the end of the year. The telecom giants, which want to challenge cable's TV franchise with IPTV over fiber and DSL have about 100,000 nationwide subscribers to that type of service. Too big a differnce to bridge. Maybe.

Things could get worse for the phone companies. Only 4% of the 40 million homes that Comcast passes with its lines have VoIP. Cox cable, which has been in the cable phone business longer, has that number up to 20%. That may be a blueprint for Comcast's future.

Comcast's stock is also near a 52-week high at $38.76, up from its low of $25.35. With its current advantages, it may be able to sustain that price or even take it higher.

Maybe the telecom stocks won't trade at a premium much longer.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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