Verizon revenue up, but one-time costs lead to loss

The company points to growth in its wireless division as cause for optimism

Verizon Communications posted a net loss of US $1.9 billion during the fourth quarter of 2012, but the losses were due to a series of one-time expenses announced earlier.

The company on Tuesday announced revenue of $30 billion for the fourth quarter, a 5.7 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2011.

Verizon reported a loss of $1.48 per share for the fourth quarter of 2012, but attributed it to severance, pension and benefit costs; early debt redemption and other restructuring costs; and costs related to the major storm Sandy. Without those one-time charges, Verizon posted earnings per share of $0.45, although analysts expected $0.50.

Without the one-time costs, Verizon posted adjusted income of $4.3 billion for the fourth quarter, compared to $4.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Verizon's fourth quarter capped a year of "solid progress" for the company, Lowell McAdam, the company's chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

For the full year, Verizon reported revenue of $115.8 billion, up 4.5 percent from 2011.

Verizon pointed to its wireless division as a cause for optimism. During the quarter, Verizon Wireless signed up the largest number of retail postpaid customers in any quarter in its history, the company said in a press release. The company added 2.2 million retail connections during the quarter, bringing the number of retail customers to 98.2 million.

Wireless revenue was $20 billion for the quarter, up 9.5 percent over last year.

At the end of the year, smartphones accounted for more than 58 percent of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer base, up from 53 percent in the third quarter. The company added eight 4G LTE smartphones and three tablets to its device lineup during the quarter.

In Verizon's wireline unit, the company reported operating revenue of $10 billion, down 1.5 percent from a year ago. Global enterprise revenue was down 2.1 percent to $3.8 billion.

However, Verizon added 144,000 new Fios broadband connections and 134,000 Fios TV connections during the quarter. The company now has 5.4 million Fios broadband and 4.7 million Fios TV customers. Total broadband connections at the end of the quarter were 8.8 million, an increase of 1.4 percent from a year ago.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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