updated 03:25 pm EDT, Mon October 26, 2009
Verizon adds just 1.2m new users
Verizon today reported mixed results for its summer quarter and reiterated its invitation to Apple. The carrier said its operating revenue grew year-over-year by more than 10 percent to $27.3 billion but that its actual earnings per shared dropped a sharp 30.5 percent from 59 cents per share a year ago to 41 cents today, or $2.88 billion. Most of the growth came about from added cellphone and FiOS customers.
Its cellular business in particular exhibited its own uncertain performance. While the buyout of Alltel helped jump its subscription numbers 25 percent to 89 million phone users, it only added 1.2 million total new customers during the summer, significantly fewer than the two million AT&T additions during the same period. Its average data revenue per person climbed 17.2 percent in the one-year span to $15.59, but its combined revenue for these users dropped 2.2 percent to $51.04.
The figures narrow the gap in mobile subscribers between AT&T and Verizon to 7.4 million users and show a reverse in the amount customers are willing to pay compared to Verizon's rival, where the average revenue went up 3.8 percent. Without a clear flagship device, Verizon is still known to be losing some of its customers to AT&T for the iPhone; a third of new iPhone owners were new to AT&T's network.
In a conference call discussing the results, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg reiterated his company's position on the Apple device. While he explained that the decision is "exclusively in Apple's court" as to whether or not it wants to make a Verizon iPhone, he expressed a desire Apple would "hopefully" sign on as part of a move to broaden Verizon's phone catalog.
The remarks are a sharp contrast to Verizon's Motorola Droid ad campaign, which has directly criticized Apple for its closed, single-tasking platform and promoted the imminent Android phone as a direct challenger to the iPhone. Some have interpreted the ad campaign as a sign of a more permanent rift between Verizon and Apple, but the former is known to quickly switch allegiances and has timed its BlackBerry Storm2 launch to occur the same day as the Droid's unveiling, guaranteeing little attention for the once heavily publicized original Storm.