Verizon reported strong third quarter results as its 4G LTE rollout hit an inflection point. The company sold 4.5 million LTE devices in the quarter courtesy of the iPhone 5 and its Android lineup and now has 4G available to 250 million people.
The company reported third quarter earnings of 56 cents a share on revenue of $29 billion, up 4 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings for the third quarter were 64 cents a share, in line with Wall Street estimates.
Verizon said that it added 1.8 million retail subscribers, with 1.5 million of that sum postpaid. Retail postpaid churn was 0.91 percent.
Overall, Verizon has 90.4 million retail postpaid connections.
The addition of the iPhone 5 appears to have boosted Verizon's LTE additions by a wide margin. Meanwhile, Verizon said 13 percent of its wireless plans are now in the share everything category.
CFO Fran Shammo said on an earnings conference call that 35 percent of Verizon's data traffic is on the LTE network.
Shammo added that Verizon activated 3.1 million iPhones in the quarter and 21 percent of them were LTE. The company activated 3.4 million Android phones and 3 million were 4G LTE.
Going forward, Shammo said:
Looking ahead, we see a great deal of new product development activity in M2M, particularly in health care and energy. We are also collaborating on an innovative video roadmap with the cable companies as part of our technology joint venture.
CEO Lowell McAdam said Verizon was on track to hit its 2012 financial targets and its LTE network is humming. McAdam also said the enterprise growth businesses were solid.
By the numbers:
Verizon Wireless revenue in the third quarter was $19 billion, up 7.3 percent from a year ago.
Wireless connections were 95.89 million at the end of the quarter.
Retail postpaid accounts were 34.8 million.
Smartphones were 53 percent of the customer base.
Enterprise revenue was $3.8 billion, down 3.6 percent from a year ago.
Verizon added 136,000 new FiOS Internet connections and 119,000 FiOS video customers.