Verizon Wireless has 1.4M net adds in Q4

Verizon Wireless reported a strong fourth quarter, with increases in revenues and net subscriber additions, as it weathered the tough economy and emerged strong following the acquisition of Alltel, which made it the largest wireless operator in the United States. Unlike some of its rivals, like AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel, the company did not report any job cuts.

Verizon Wireless' total quarterly revenues were $12.8 billion, up 12.3 percent from the fourth quarter last year. Full-year revenues came in at $49.3 billion, up 12.4 percent over the year-ago period. Data revenues in the quarter were 26.8 percent of all service revenue, up from 21.3 percent in the fourth quarter 2007. 

Net adds: The carrier had 1.4 million organic non-acquisition related net subscriber additions in the quarter, with 1.2 million retail net additions, which included the loss of 122,000 subscribers from an asset swap with AT&T Mobility. That's down sequentially from 2.1 million net total additions in the third quarter of 2008 and down from 2 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. The carrier ended the quarter with 72.1 million total customers, which will grow to over 80 million once Alltel customers are carried over to Verizon's network.

Churn: Churn rose to 1.35 percent, up from 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter last year, but still relatively low compared to other carriers. The company's retail post-paid churn grew to 1.05 percent, up from 0.94 percent in the year-ago period and up from 1.03 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

ARPU: Verizon reported total service ARPU of $51.72, up 1.4 percent from $51.49 in the fourth quarter of 2007, and marking the 11th consecutive quarter of year-over-year ARPU growth.

Smartphones and LTE: Verizon said smartphones accounted for 37 percent of all retail devices sold in the quarter. Though not specifically mentioned in the carrier's earnings release, a report in The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying that 500,000 of Research In Motion's BlackBerry Storm devices were sold in the first month after its Nov. 21 release. Verizon is the sole U.S. carrier for the phone. The carrier also said that its market trials for Long term evolution (LTE) deployment continue to be on track and will happen in 2009.      

For more:
- see this article (sub. req.)
- see this release

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