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VZW Earnings Highlight Wireless, Record Q2 Margins

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 6:34am
Andrew Berg

Record margins and $15.8 billion in wireless service revenues were highlights in Verizon's second quarter earnings released today. Operating margins hit 19.8 percent from 17.8 percent, while Verizon Wireless accounted for 65 percent of the company's total revenue.

Overall operating revenues for the quarter hit $28.6 billion, while profits came in at $1.8 billion, or 64 cents a share, up from $1.6 billion, or 57 cents, a year earlier.

On the wireless side, data revenues were $6.9 billion, up $1.1 billion, or 18.5 percent over the same quarter last year. That represents a 43.6 percent of all service revenues. Retail postpaid ARPU grew 3.7 percent year over year, to a record $56.13, the highest growth in three years. Retail postpaid data ARPU increased to $24.53, up 15.4 percent year over year.

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said in an earnings call early Thursday morning that adoption of the company's new Share Everything data plans were "tracking ahead of where we thought we'd be," with no impact expected on ARPU in the third and fourth quarters. Shammo said the shared data plans have also resulted in more customers moving from 3G to 4G devices.

Verizon Wireless added 1.2 million retail net customers in the second quarter, including 888,000 retail postpaid net customers, excluding acquistions and adjustments.

Retail postpaid churn was 0.84 percent, the lowest in four years, and an improvement of 5 basis points year over year. Total retail churn was 1.11 percent, an improvement of 11 basis points year over year.

Smartphone adoption continued to grow. At the end of the second quarter, fully 50 percent of Verizon Wireless' retail postpaid customer phone base were on smartphones, up from 47 percent at the end of first-quarter 2012.

Verizon remains far and away the industry leader in LTE deployments. The carrier's LTE service is currently available to more than 230 million people in 337 markets across the United States, covering nearly 75 percent of the population. Verizon is awaiting approval of its bid to purchase AWS spectrum licenses from a group of cable companies. If approved, Verizon has agreed to auction its 700 MHz spectrum licenses in the A Block and B Block. 

Shammo said there won't be any stalling once Verizon gets approval. "We're ready to go to auction as soon as we get the go ahead on the SpectrumCo deal," he said.

Shares of Verizon were down just under 2 percent in early morning trading at $45.14.

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