US market leader Verizon Wireless has announced it will pay-out an US$8.5 billion dividend to its owners Verizon and Vodafone by the end of 2012.

The payments will be made in proportion to the owners' stakes. Verizon Communications currently owns 55 percent of the joint venture with Vodafone Group owning the remaining 45 percent.

There has been speculation about whether the operator would pay a dividend in 2012, following the US$10 billion dividend announced in July 2011 and paid in January this year. The dividend was suspended between 2005 and 2012 as the company focused on paying down its debt.

The US number-one’s revenue in the third quarter of 2012 was US$19 billion, up 7.3 percent year-on-year. It also added 1.8 million connections during the period, taking its total number of retail customers to 96 million.

Verizon Wireless operates the largest 4G LTE network in the US, the rollout of which is ahead of schedule, and will cover 417 markets by the end of the year.

Along with other operators, Verizon Wireless recently had to perform emergency repair work on its network in the northeast of the US in the wake of super storm Sandy. One analyst put the repair bill at around US$306 million.