The holidays are an extremely lucrative time of the year for most businesses that sell goods, especially electronics. That theory also holds true for wireless providers as we have just learned that Verizon had a solid fourth quarter last year.
The company said they activated 9.8 million smartphones during the three month period. We are told that 7.3 million of those devices were LTE-compatible. Further breakdown of the numbers reveals that 6.2 million activations were iPhones and about half of them were LTE-enabled, meaning they were the iPhone 5.
During the same period, the carrier added 2.2 million total net subscribers, 144,000 new FiOS Internet subscribers and 134,000 FiOS video subscribers. Overall, it was good for revenues of $30 billion for the quarter, up 5.7 percent from a year ago, and $115.8 billion to round out the fiscal year. Verizon delivered a total return of 13.2 percent to shareholders in 2012.
That's good news at the end of the day but it can't hide the fact that they finished the quarter with a loss of $4.22 billion - or $1.48 per share. The loss was mostly due to higher pension costs as well as the financial impact of Hurricane Sandy. Verizon said pension charges cost roughly $1.55 per share while damages from the storm accounted for $0.07 per share.
As GigaOm points out, only 23 percent of the 98 million devices on Verizon's network are LTE-compatible. Interestingly enough, however, less than a quarter of all devices account for almost half of all data traffic on the network.