Despite reports that Verizon’s fourth quarter earnings were hurt mainly by high subsidies for iPhone, Verizon announced on Tuesday it sold 4.3 million iPhones– over 50 percent of the 7.7 million total smartphones sold during the quarter. This statistic follows reports earlier this month that Verizon sold approximately 4.2 million iPhones during the holiday quarter. Compare that figure to the 1.6 million 4G LTE smartphones sold during the same quarter, of which the carrier offers more than 18 (mostly Android) devices versus a few iPhone models. These numbers show consumers are still choosing 3G iOS devices over the latest generation of 4G LTE smartphones from other vendors.
According to Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe, even with the high subsidy, Verizon will see a positive cash flow of approximately $1,600 per iPhone. His estimate is based on the nearly $2,000 spent over a two-year contract and a $400 subsidy for the same period. Ratcliffe explained toBloomberg:
“The average smartphone customer will spend about $2,000 over the two-year contract, if the subsidy is $400, you’re still getting $1,600, and that’s very cash-flow positive.”
Verizon reported revenue from smartphone sales as the largest contributor to growth, doubling last year’s figures to $2.2 billion, adding 1.2 million subscribers for a new total of 87.4 million devices on contract, and a total of $18.3 billion in Q4 revenues. Strong wirless revenues were largely attributed to a 19 percent increase in data sales, while total sales hit $28.4 billion, a 7.7 percent increase. Full press release from Verizon below.
NEW YORK – January 24, 2012 – 4Q 2011 HIGHLIGHTS
7.7 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue growth in 4Q, a company record.
A loss of 71 cents in diluted earnings per share (EPS), impacted by non-cash pension items, compared with earnings of 93 cents per share in 4Q 2010.
52 cents per share in adjusted EPS (non-GAAP), which excludes $1.23 per share in non-operational items, compared with 54 cents in adjusted EPS in 4Q 2010.
$18.3 billion in total 4Q revenues, up 13.0 percent year over year; data revenues of $6.3 billion, up 19.2 percent, representing 41.6 percent of service revenues; $15.1 billion in service revenues, up 6.4 percent.
1.5 million retail net additions (excluding acquisitions and adjustments), largest increase in three years, includes 1.2 million retail postpaid net customer additions; 108.7 million total connections, includes 92.2 million retail customers.
2.6 percent growth in retail service ARPU over 4Q 2010; retail postpaid data ARPU up 14.3 percent.
23.7 percent operating income margin; 42.2 percent Segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP).
201,000 FiOS Internet and 194,000 FiOS Video net additions, with increased sales penetration for both products; net increase of 98,000 broadband connections from 3Q 2011.
8.5 percent year-over-year increase in consumer ARPU; FiOS ARPU was more than $148 per month.
14.7 percent increase in strategic services revenues, representing 51 percent of global enterprise revenues.
3.0 percent operating income margin; 23.8 percent Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP), compared with 23.5 percent in 4Q 2010 and 21.4 percent in 3Q 2011.
NEW YORK – Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) posted the highest year-over-year quarterly revenue growth in the company’s 11-year history in fourth-quarter 2011, fueled by continued strong demand for Verizon Wireless services and handsets, FiOS fiber-optic services, and strategic business products and services.
‘Great Momentum for 2012′
“Verizon finished 2011 very strong, both in terms of revenue growth and by delivering an 18.2 percent total return to our shareholders for the full year, and the company has great momentum for 2012,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Verizon Wireless produced particularly strong growth in the fourth quarter. While that diluted wireless margins in the short term, it is good news for revenue and margin growth over the long term, particularly given our leadership in the rapidly developing 4G LTE ecosystem.”
McAdam added: “Wireline margins recovered from third-quarter pressures, and we expect wireline margin expansion in 2012. With recent strategic moves and our investments in FiOS, LTE, and global IP and cloud-based strategic services, Verizon has set the stage for accelerated growth across our business units, and we look to continue to build significant value for shareholders in 2012.”
Verizon’s total shareholder return is a combination of stock-price appreciation and dividend payments. Regarding recent strategic moves, Verizon last month strengthened its ability to provide fully integrated solutions by creating Verizon Enterprise Solutions, a sales and marketing organization, to harness all of Verizon’s solutions for business and government customers globally. In addition, Verizon Wireless announced agreements to purchase AWS (Advanced Wireless Spectrum) licenses, an important step toward meeting customers’ needs for wireless data and broadband services.
4Q and Full-Year Earnings Results
Due primarily to the impact of previously announced non-cash pension items, Verizon reported a loss of 71 cents in EPS in fourth-quarter 2011, compared with earnings of 93 cents per share in fourth-quarter 2010.
Adjusted fourth-quarter 2011 earnings (non-GAAP) of 52 cents per share exclude $1.20 per share, or $3.4 billion after-tax, due to the actuarial valuation of Verizon’s benefit plans, and 3 cents per share for the early extinguishment of debt. This annual valuation adjustment, resulting from changes in actuarial assumptions, is in accordance with a Verizon accounting policy adopted last year. Comparable adjusted fourth-quarter 2010 earnings were 54 cents per share, excluding the impact of non-operational items, the largest of which was a gain from benefit-plan valuation of 44 cents per share.
On an annual basis, Verizon reported 85 cents in 2011 EPS, compared with 90 cents per share in 2010. Adjusted annual EPS (non-GAAP) was $2.15 in 2011, compared with $2.08 on a comparable basis (non-GAAP, excluding results from divested businesses) in 2010.
Consolidated Revenue Growth, Strong Cash Flows
In fourth-quarter 2011, Verizon’s total operating revenues were $28.4 billion on a consolidated basis, an increase of 7.7 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010. For full-year 2011, revenues totaled $110.9 billion, a 4.0 percent increase compared with 2010, when results included revenues from operations that have since been divested. On a comparable basis (non-GAAP), Verizon’s 2011 full-year revenues increased 6.2 percent compared with 2010.
Consolidated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) totaled $29.4 billion in 2011. On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), EBITDA increased by more than $950 million in 2011 compared with 2010.
Cash flow from operating activities totaled $29.8 billion in 2011, and capital expenditures totaled $16.2 billion. Free cash flow (non-GAAP, cash flow from operations less capex) was more than $13.5 billion in 2011. From this total, Verizon returned $5.6 billion in quarterly dividends to shareholders in 2011, as the company’s Board of Directors approved a fifth consecutive year of dividend increases.
Verizon Wireless Delivers Strong Customer and Revenue Growth
In fourth-quarter 2011, Verizon Wireless delivered the highest number of retail net additions in three years and strong growth in revenues, driven by increased smartphone penetration and increased retail postpaid ARPU (average monthly service revenue per user).
Wireless Financial Highlights
Total revenues were $18.3 billion in fourth-quarter 2011, up 13.0 percent year over year. Data revenues were $6.3 billion, up more than $1.0 billion or 19.2 percent year over year, and represented 41.6 percent of all service revenues. Service revenues were $15.1 billion, up 6.4 percent year over year. For full-year 2011, total revenues were $70.2 billion, up 10.6 percent over full-year 2010, and service revenues were $59.2 billion in 2011, up 6.3 percent year over year.
Retail service ARPU grew 2.6 percent over fourth-quarter 2010, to $53.14. Retail postpaid ARPU grew 2.5 percent, to $54.80. Retail postpaid data ARPU increased to $22.76, up 14.3 percent year over year.
In fourth-quarter 2011, wireless operating income margin was 23.7 percent, and wireless generated $6.4 billion of EBITDA. Segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP) was 42.2 percent, down 530 basis points from fourth-quarter 2010. For full-year 2011, operating income margin was 26.4 percent, down 310 basis points from full-year 2010; Segment EBITDA margin was 44.8 percent, down 210 basis points.
Wireless Operational Highlights
Verizon Wireless added 1.0 million total net connections in fourth-quarter 2011. The company added 1.5 million retail customers, including 1.2 million retail postpaid customers. While the wholesale channel grew during the fourth quarter, a loss of telematics customers resulted in a net decrease of 490,000 wholesale and other connections in the quarter. These totals exclude acquisitions and adjustments.
At year-end 2011, the company had 108.7 million total connections, a 6.3 percent increase year over year, consisting of 92.2 million retail connections and 16.5 million wholesale and other connections.
At year-end 2011, smartphones accounted for 44 percent of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 39 percent at the end of third-quarter 2011.
Retail postpaid churn was 0.94 percent in fourth-quarter 2011, an improvement of 7 basis points year over year. Total retail churn was 1.23 percent, an improvement of 14 basis points year over year.
Verizon Wireless continued to roll out its 4G LTE mobile broadband network, the largest 4G LTE network in the U.S. As of Monday (Jan. 23), Verizon Wireless 4G LTE service was available to more than 200 million people in 195 markets across the U.S.
Verizon Wireless introduced six new 4G LTE devices in fourth-quarter 2011: the Droid Razr by Motorola; the Samsung Stratosphere; the HTC Rezound; the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung; and Droid Xyboard tablets in 10.1-inch and 8-inch form factors. Earlier this month, the company announced that six additional 4G LTE devices would be available in the coming weeks, including two mobile hotspots, now called Jetpacks, from ZTE and Novatel; three smartphones – the Droid 4 and Droid Razr Maxx from Motorola, and the Spectrum from LG, which launched last week; and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.
In December, Verizon Wireless announced agreements to purchase AWS licenses from SpectrumCo – a joint venture of Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks – and from Cox TMI Wireless. The spectrum licenses under the two agreements cover 93 percent of the U.S. population, and the purchases are subject to regulatory approval.
Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network was ranked No. 1 on PC World’s 100 Best Products of 2011 list. In October, RootMetrics ranked Verizon Wireless tops for network performance in Boston and 21 other cities nationwide; in November, Verizon Wireless won the RootMetrics RootScore award for data performance in 36 markets.
FiOS, Strategic Services Contribute to Revenue Growth
In fourth-quarter 2011, revenues and customers continued to increase for FiOS services, and sales of strategic services to business customers remained strong. Segment EBITDA margins (non-GAAP) also increased both sequentially and year over year.
Wireline Financial Highlights
Fourth-quarter 2011 operating revenues were $10.1 billion, a decline of 1.5 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010. Consumer revenues grew 1.3 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010.
In fourth-quarter 2011, wireline operating income was $300 million, up 18.6 percent from fourth-quarter 2010. Segment EBITDA (non-GAAP) was $2.4 billion in fourth-quarter 2011, flat compared with fourth-quarter 2010 and an increase of $243 million from third-quarter 2011, when the Segment EBITDA was impacted by storm-related repair costs and a two-week strike. Operating income margin was 3.0 percent in fourth-quarter 2011. Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 23.8 percent, compared with 23.5 percent in fourth-quarter 2010 and 21.4 percent in third-quarter 2011.
Consumer ARPU for wireline services was $96.43 in fourth-quarter 2011, up 8.5 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010. ARPU for FiOS customers totaled more than $148 in fourth-quarter 2011, rising approximately $2 year over year. FiOS services to consumer retail customers represented 61 percent of consumer wireline revenues in fourth-quarter 2011.
Global enterprise revenues totaled $3.9 billion in the quarter, up 1.3 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010. Sales of strategic services – including Terremark cloud services, security and IT solutions, and strategic networking – increased 14.7 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2010 and represented 51 percent of global enterprise revenues in fourth-quarter 2011.
Wireline Operational Highlights
Verizon added 201,000 net new FiOS Internet connections and 194,000 net new FiOS Video connections in fourth-quarter 2011. Verizon had a total of 4.8 million FiOS Internet and 4.2 million FiOS Video connections at year-end.
FiOS penetration (subscribers as a percentage of potential subscribers) continued to increase. FiOS Internet penetration was 35.5 percent at year-end 2011, compared with 31.9 percent at year-end 2010. In the same periods, FiOS Video penetration was 31.5 percent, compared with 28.0 percent, respectively. The FiOS network passed 16.5 million premises at year-end 2011, up more than 900,000 from year-end 2010.
Broadband connections totaled 8.7 million at year-end 2011, a 3.3 percent year-over-year increase. FiOS Internet connections more than offset a decrease in DSL-based HSI connections, resulting in a net increase of 98,000 broadband connections from third-quarter 2011. Total voice connections, which measures FiOS Digital Voice connections in addition to traditional switched access lines, declined 7.2 percent to 24.1 million – the smallest year-over-year decline since first-quarter 2006.
Verizon continued to enhance its global portfolio of secure IT and advanced communications platforms and industry-focused solutions. In fourth-quarter 2011, this included an expansion of the company’s Voice-over-IP service within the Asia-Pacific region and the rollout of an automated healthcare fraud-detection platform for private health insurers and government agencies.
Multinational corporations, leading businesses and government agencies – including Accenture plc; Chrysler Group LLC; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; GXS Inc.; MagnaCare Holdings Inc.; Tyson Foods Inc.; Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc.; and Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc., a Con Edison subsidiary – completed new agreements or expanded their relationships with Verizon for a range of advanced communications and information technology solutions. Verizon also announced that it had been named a prime contractor under the U.S. General Services Administration’s CONNECTIONS II contract to provide professional and managed services and custom networking solutions at federal facilities.
Verizon continued to broaden the scope and capabilities of its network infrastructure. In fourth-quarter 2011, the company completed deployment of its next-generation 100 gigabit-per-second network route between New York City and Chicago and kicked off seven additional routes in the U.S.; expanded the Ethernet footprint to an additional 80 nodes supporting 23 areas in the Eastern part of the U.S.; expanded the global Private IP network into six additional countries in Africa and two more countries in the Middle East; and activated the first phase of the Europe India Gateway (EIG) submarine cable connecting Europe to the Middle East and Africa with 40G high-speed connections.