It is a common practice among telecommunications companies to finance a subscriber’s purchase of a mobile handset over a period of 18 to 24 months. In financial terms, the transaction is essentially a loan. The carrier gets a revenue stream from repayment for the handset, plus monthly payments for usage. Now, however, carriers are looking to raise capital by securitizing those loans against the handsets to free up capital to better compete in today’s highly competitive market. Asset-backed securitization (ABS) is new to telecommunications, but it is an extremely common practice with mortgages, auto loans and bankcards. What investors in asset-backed securities require is a clear picture of the credit quality of the loans underlying the security, and for decades the trusted standard for risk assessment has been and continues to be the FICO® Score.
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