Ina Fried

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Verizon Sees Sales, Profits Climb From Year-Ago Levels on Wireless Growth

Verizon Communications reported earnings on Thursday that were largely in the range of what analysts were expecting as it continued to gain wireless customers.

The wireline and wireless operator said it earned $3.91 billion in net income, or 59 cents per share, for the first quarter, compared to $3.26 billion, or 51 cents per share, in last year’s first quarter. Verizon’s operating revenue was $28.2 billion, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

Verizon Wireless said it added 734,000 retail customers in the first quarter, including 501,000 traditional postpaid customers, to end the quarter with 93 million retail customers, a 5.2 percent increase from a year earlier. As of the end of the quarter, nearly 47 percent of traditional contract customers were using smartphones, up from 43.5 percent a quarter earlier. As far as new sales, almost three out of four new customers were opting for smartphones, up from a rate of three in five a year ago.

The company said it also posted improvements in the area of customer defections, known in the industry as “churn.”

On the wired side of things, Verizon said it added 193,000 net new FiOS Internet connections and 180,000 net new FiOS Video connections in the quarter, to give it a total of five million FiOS Internet and 4.4 million FiOS video customers by the end of March.

Update: Verizon’s slides prepared for its earnings call offer up a few more interesting numbers:

  • The company said that “Internet devices” — as distinct from phones — make up 8 percent of its base of traditional postpaid customers, and that 62 percent of tablet customers are postpaid.
  • Typical contract customers are spending $23.80 per month on the data portion of their bill — up 16 percent from a year ago.
  • Of its device sales in the quarter, 2.9 million of the devices sold were capable of running on Verizon’s high-speed 4G LTE network. That means that 9.1 percent of Verizon’s base is running on LTE, up from 6 percent a quarter earlier, and less than 1 percent of customers who had LTE phones a year ago.

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    Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

    — Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work