Verizon Wireless reported a strong set of fourth quarter financials, as the largest mobile operator in the US talked up its LTE progress while its parent company announced the acquisition of cloud TV vendor Intel Media.
Verizon Wireless saw its fifth consecutive quarter of “at least 8 per cent” service revenue growth, adding 1.7 million retail connections during the fourth quarter of 2013 to take its total to 102.8 million.
The company added 1.6 million retail contract customers during the period, of which 824,000 were phone subscribers. It also gained 625,000 contract tablet customers, taking its tablet customer base to 3.6 million.
It activated 11.5 million retail postpaid devices during the period, including 8.8 million smartphones. There were 9 million LTE device activations, taking the total to around 42.7 million – or 44.1 per cent of its contract customer base.
In a statement released by parent Verizon Communications, it was said that the business had “substantially completed” deployment of its 4G LTE network, covering more than 99 per cent of its current 3G network footprint.
It is now available to 97 per cent of the US population in more than 500 markets covering nearly 305 million people, including those in areas served by its “Rural America” partners. Some 69 per cent of total data traffic is on the LTE network.
For the Wireless unit, the company reported a Q4 operating income of $6.2 billion, up 30 per cent from $4.8 billion, on revenue of $21.1 billion, up 5.7 per cent from $20 billion. Service revenue was $17.7 billion, up 8 per cent from $16.4 billion.
For its Wireline unit, operating income was $131 million, compared with a prior-year loss of $326 million, on revenue of $9.8 billion, down 1.5 per cent from $10 billion.
On a group level, Verizon reported a net income of $7.9 billion, compared with a prior-year loss of $1.9 billion, on revenue of $31.1 billion, up 3.4 per cent from $30 billion.
This included an after-tax gain of $3.7 billion related to its pension plan, and charges of $540 million related to the acquisition of Vodafone Group’s holding in the Wireless business.
It was reiterated that assuming shareholder approval, the closing of the Vodafone deal is planned for completion around 21 February 2014.
Separately, Verizon announced its acquisition of Intel Media, a company “dedicated to the development of Cloud TV products and services”.
While the deal will bolster the company’s FiOS fibre media proposition as well as supporting over-the-top services, it said that “FiOS customers are also expected to benefit from elegant search and discovery, interactivity and cross-screen ease of use – integrated with the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.”