According to today's earnings release, Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) had a reasonable fourth quarter. That's a good thing if you're looking for evidence of macroeconomic weakness affecting the telecom sector. Overall, revenues checked in at $28.44B, just slightly above analyst estimates of $28.39B, or right on the money if you don't give them credit for so many decimal places.
Adjusted earnings per share of $0.52 were a penny off estimates and two pennies of the same number last year due in part to the costs of those pesky iPhone sales. But overall, within the normal range. Of course, they lost $0.71 when you count non-cash pension items, which nobody seems to care much about.
On the wireless side, smartphones now account for 44% of Verizon's postpaid user base, up from 39% in the prior quarter. That increase reflects the fact that 70.3% of new sales were postpaid smartphones, meaning lots of iPhone sales although they didn't break it out. Retail wireless subscribers rose to 92.17M, up 1,459 in all. Total wireless operating revenues rose to $18.25B.
Meanwhile, back in the wireline back-country, total revenues were $5.51B, down 1.7% over the same period last year. FIOS was up, DSL was down, strategic enterprise revenues were up, other enterprise revenues were down, and global wholesale saw a boost that included Terremark's results of course. All in all, nothing unexpected. I wonder if the company's move into the cloud will start to bring some focus (both internal and external) back to Verizon's wireline results in 2012.
I'll be interested to hear how they see 2012 unfold overall, given the pre-announcements by some equipment vendors suggesting spending cutbacks amongst major US carriers.
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