Verizon benefits from Droid momentum

Verizon Wireless benefited from the strong momentum surrounding the Motorola Droid and other smartphones during the fourth quarter holiday buying season. The company reported a quarterly revenues of $15.7 billion, up 22.5 percent from $12.8 billion in the year-ago quarter. Service revenues totaled $13.5 billion, also up 22.5 percent from $11.1 billion last year. In addition, the company added 2.2 million net new wireless subscribers, handily surpassing market expectations.

Subscribers: Verizon ended the quarter with a total of 91.2 million wireless subscribers, up 26.6 percent from the year-ago quarter. The carrier had 1.2 million retail net subscriber additions in quarter and ended the period with 87.5 million retail customers, which was up 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008.

Churn: Total churn for the quarter was 1.42 percent, up from 1.35 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, but down from 1.49 percent in the third quarter of 2009. Retail postpaid churn was 1.06 percent.  

Data: The operator had data revenues of $4.3 billion in the quarter, up 26.6 percent year-over-year.  Data ARPU increased to $16.24, up 16.1 percent year-over-year. For the year, Verizon had data revenues of $16 billion, up 31 percent over 2008 on a pro forma basis.

ARPU: Average monthly service revenue per user was $50.75, down 2.2 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and down from $51.04 in the third quarter of 2009.

Devices: Verizon Communications CFO Jon Killian said that at the end of the quarter, 26 percent of the carrier's retail postpaid base had either a smartphone or a 3G multimedia device. He said 15 percent have smartphones and 11 percent have multimedia devices, noting that all of these phones now require a data plan. Killian said that the company expects to continue to see strong wireless data growth.

Killian also said that during the quarter Verizon saw an improvement in customers porting over from other carriers. He refused to break down how many had come over from rival AT&T Mobility. "We were definitely at a disadvantage on higher end of market," he said, referring to devices. "The introduction of Droid and other products helped us there."

For more:
- see this release
- see this Reuters article

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