John Minchillo/APBy BREE FOWLER
NEW YORK — Verizon posted fourth-quarter net income of $5.07 billion, boosted by continued growth in the number of phones and tablets connected to its network.
The largest U.S. cellphone carrier reported increases in both the number connected devices and its wireless subscriber population. Its results reported Tuesday beat Wall Street predictions.
New York-based Verizon (VZ) said overall service revenue rose 8 percent to $17.7 billion.
The company added 1.7 million net retail wireless connections during the quarter, excluding acquisitions and adjustments. Of that total, 1.6 million were connections that involved monthly service contracts.
As of Dec. 31, Verizon had a total of 102.8 million retail connections, marking a 5 percent increase over the same time a year ago. The 2013 total included 96.8 million connections with monthly contracts.
Francis Shammo, Verizon’s executive vice president and CFO, said on a conference call with investors that the company got a big boost from new contracts for tablet service, which totaled 790,000 and marked the largest quarterly total since tablets were first introduced in 2010.
Meanwhile, Verizon’s overall population of retail wireless subscribers increased 4.5 percent to 35.1 million, with each customer having an average of 2.8 connected devices.
The company’s wireline division, which provides landlines along with the company’s FIOS internet and TV services, also saw growth. Consumer revenues at that division rose 6 percent to $3.8 billion, as FIOS-related consumer revenue jumped 15 percent to nearly $2.8 billion.
Shammo also said on Tuesday’s call that Verizon expects its $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone Group’s (VOD) 45 percent stake in its wireless division to close Feb. 21. Once that happens, Verizon will no longer have to share its wireless revenue with the British cellphone company.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Verizon’s profit amounted to $1.76 a share. The company lost $4.23 billion, or $1.48 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 66 cents a share.
Revenue rose 3 percent to $31.07 billion from $30.05 billion.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 62 cents a share on $31.04 billion in revenue.
For the full year 2013, Verizon earned $11.5 billion, or $4.01 a share, compared with $875 million, or 31 cents a share, in 2012. Revenue rose to $120.55 billion from $115.85 billion.
Also Tuesday, Verizon said it reached a deal to buy chipmaker Intel’s (INTC) cloud TV products and services business. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Verizon said the acquisition will help speed the delivery of new kinds of video services to its customers.
Shares of Verizon Communications were down 98 cents, or 2 percent, to $47.37 in afternoon trading.
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