Verizon racks up subscribers ahead of iPhone launch

The wireless carrier gains 872,000 subscribers in the final quarter of 2010, with most new customers buying smartphones.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Verizon Wireless added more than 800,000 new subscribers during the fourth quarter as it prepares for the launch of the Verizon iPhone.

The company, which is jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone, today reported that it added 872,000 contract customers during the last quarter of 2010, bringing it to a total of 102.2 million wireless customers at the end of the three-month period. At year-end 2010, 26 percent of Verizon Wireless' retail postpaid customer base--that is, its subscribers--had smartphone devices, up from 15 percent at year-end 2009. In the fourth quarter of 2010, more than 75 percent of new customers on contract service to Verizon Wireless bought smartphones.

This is good news for the company, which expects to see a surge in subscribers when it launches its long-awaited verison of the Apple iPhone next month.

Overall Verizon Communications' profit rose to 93 cents per share from 22 per share during the same quarter a year ago, on an adjusted basis. The fourth quarter also included 39 cents of non-operational gains.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $26.4 billion compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $26.48 billion, according to Reuters.

Verizon also saw a strong showing from its Fios, fiber-to-the-home service. The company added 197,000 new Fios Internet customers and 182,000 new Fios TV customers. In total the company now has 4.1 million Fios Internet customers and 3.5 million Fios TV customers. The average revenue per user on Fios increased about 10.7 compared to the same quarter in 2009. And Fios revenues now represent about 53 percent of all consumer revenue at Verizon.

Verizon will be hosting a conference call with investors at 8:30 a.m. ET. Investors and press are invited to a live presentation in New York City. Stay tuned for updates.