Verizon Communications (VZ - Free Verizon Stock Report), a telecommunications titan and Dow-30 component, has reported September-quarter earnings of $0.64 a share, a 14.3% year-over-year improvement, on a 3.9% top-line advance. The issue traded just shy of 3% higher following the announcement.
As has been the case over the last few years, Verizon Wireless (55% owned by Verizon Communications) was responsible for much of the good news, with the division delivering the highest number of retail postpaid net customer additions in four years. Notably, VZ Wireless added 1.8 million retail net connections during the interim, as opposed to 1.2 million net additions in the June quarter, undoubtedly aided by the recent release of the iPhone 5.
What's more, total revenues came in at $19.0 billion, up 7.3% from the year-earlier figure, driven by a healthy increase in retail postpaid ARPA (average revenue per account). Indeed, ARPA (following the recent introduction of the Share Everything Plan and as customers continue to add multiple devices to their accounts, VZ Wireless now reports ARPA instead of ARPU since customers can share data among multiple devices) was up 6.5%. In addition, at the end of the September interim, smartphones comprised more than 53% of Verizon Wireless' retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 50% at the end of the second quarter. This improving metric certainly augurs well for ARPA growth going forward, as smartphone users typically pay additional data-related fees.
Over the balance of this year and into next, we continue to look for data revenues to grow at a strong clip, as VZ Wireless is in the midst of rolling out its 4G LTE (fourth-generation, Long-Term Evolution) mobile broadband network, the largest of that type in the United States. As of mid-October, the service is available to more than 250 million people in 419 markets across the United States.
And the news from Verizon's Wireline division was more rosy than usual, with revenues up 4.6%, the highest year-over-year quarterly revenue increase in a decade. Notably, the segment added 136,000 FiOS Internet and 119,000 FiOS Video net additions during the third quarter, and the overall penetration rate (subscribers as a percentage of potential subscribers) hit the 37% mark, compared to 34.6% a year earlier.
Lastly, in late August, Verizon received FCC approval for its purchase of AWS spectrum from SpectrumCo and Cox Communications, as well as completed its spectrum transactions with T-Mobile USA Inc., Leap Wireless, and Savary Island Wireless.
About The Company: Verizon Communications was created by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE in June of 2000. It is a diversified telecom company with a network that covers a population of about 290 million and provides service to nearly 91.2 million. In the last few years, has acquired MCI (1/06) and Alltel (1/09). The company is also the largest provider of print and on-line directory information. Has a wireline presence in 28 states & Washington, D.C. and a wireless presence in every U.S. state & D.C., as well as operations in 19 countries.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.