Verizon Wireless adds 2.1M subs in 3Q

Verizon Wireless continues to maintain its strong growth position, despite increasing competition from AT&T and its popular iPhone 3G device. Total wireless revenue was $12.7 billion, up 12.5 percent year over year. EBITDA margin was 44.2 percent, down slightly from second quarter when it was 45.6 percent.

Net adds: The company today reported that it added 2.1 million net adds in third quarter--1.5 million were retail customers and 630,000 were customers acquired from the company's purchase of Rural Cellular Corp.

ARPU: Average revenue per user was $52.18, up from $51.53 in second quarter. Total service revenue was $10.9 billion. 

Data: Data ARPU was $13.30 per month, which represents 25.5 percent of total ARPU. Verizon Wireless subscribers sent or received 80 billion text messages in third quarter. In addition, Verizon said 30 percent of the devices sold in the quarter were smartphones.  

Churn: Although Verizon President and COO Denny Strigl admitted during the earnings call with investors that the company did see some churn due to the iPhone 3G, the company's churn rate remains low. Postpaid churn was 1.03 percent for the quarter, up from 0.83 percent in second quarter. Strigl said the company remains focused on having a broad base of devices in its portfolio and will not be "wedded" to one device.

LTE deployment: Strigl also said the company has started spending on its planned 4G LTE deployment and already has a trial under way.

Proposed Alltel merger: Verizon executives said that the proposed merger with Alltel is still compelling despite the change in the credit markets.  However, they also warned that the financing costs will likely be higher.

For more:
- see this press release

Related stories:
AT&T sells 2.4M iPhone 3Gs in 3Q, but margins suffer
Verizon adds 1.5M net customers in 2Q

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