Verizon reported more than a third of its customers used 5G-capable devices at end-Q4 2021, as demand for new services helped drive the operator’s post-paid phone net adds to the highest level since the start of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

During the operator’s earnings call, CFO Matt Ellis said retail post-paid phone net adds for the quarter were 558,000, up 100 per cent year-on-year. He noted 34 per cent of Verizon’s customer base now has a 5G-capable device.

CEO Hans Vestberg (pictured) added adoption of the devices throughout 2021 had been quick “in anticipation of new services”.

Vestberg and Ellis both expressed satisfaction with Verizon’s C-Band service launch, with the CFO congratulating employees for delivering the service ahead of schedule.

The CEO said its C-Band spectrum covers 95 million people and mitigations Verizon put in place near some US airports to allay concerns over interference with aircraft systems should not have a material impact on the business.

Ellis told investors Verizon will spend $5 billion to $6 billion to continue its C-Band build this year, in addition to between $16.5 billion and $17.5 billion in other capex.

Excluding C-Band spending, 2022 capex will be below the $18.2 billion of 2021. “We have started our process towards lower capital intensity”, Ellis explained.

Operating revenue in Q4 of $34.6 billion was down 1.8 per cent. Net income was flat on $4.7 billion.

The operator noted revenue grew 4.8 per cent when adjusted to account for the sale of its media business prior to Q4.

Full year net income grew 23 per cent to $22.6 billion, on operating revenue of $133.6 billion, up 4.7 per cent.