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Verizon WIreless continues double-digit revenue growth
Posted: 27-Jan-2009 [Source: Verizon]

[Verizon releases fourth quarter results showing its wireless business had a 12.3% increase in total revenues and a 41.4% increase in data revenues. The Alltel acquisition helped Verizon Wireless regain the largest carrier position in terms of total customers and more than 65% of the company's retail customers had 3G services by the end of 2008.]

New York -- 4Q 2008 HIGHLIGHTS

Consolidated Results

* 43 cents in diluted EPS and 61 cents in adjusted EPS (non-GAAP), compared with 4Q 2007 diluted EPS of 37 cents reported and 62 cents adjusted.

* $24.6 billion in 4Q revenues, up 3.4 percent, or adjusted growth (non-GAAP) of 4.6 percent.

Wireless

* 1.4 million organic (non-acquisition-related) net customer additions, almost all retail; 1.2 million total net customer additions, including a net customer loss under a previously announced exchange agreement related to the 3Q 2008 acquisition of Rural Cellular.

* 72.1 million total customers; 70.0 million retail customers, up 9.9 percent, not including customers added with the Jan. 9, 2009, acquisition of Alltel.

* 12.3 percent increase in total revenues; data revenues up 41.4 percent; ARPU growth for 11th consecutive quarter; strong 47.2 percent EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP).

Wireline

* 303,000 net new FiOS TV customers and 282,000 net new FiOS Internet customers, the highest ever for the company.

* 14.3 percent increase in consumer ARPU in legacy telecom markets.

* 8.4 percent increase in revenues from strategic business services.

YEAR-END 2008 HIGHLIGHTS

* $2.26 in 2008 diluted EPS from continuing operations and $2.54 in adjusted EPS, compared with 2007 earnings of $1.90 per share and $2.36 per share, respectively.

* $97.4 billion in 2008 revenues, up 4.2 percent, or adjusted growth of 5.1 percent.

* $26.6 billion in cash flows from operating activities; $17.2 billion in capital expenditures.

Note: Comparisons are year over year unless otherwise noted. See the accompanying schedules and www.verizon.com/investor for reconciliations to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for non-GAAP financial measures cited in this news release. Discontinued operations relate to the disposition of Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico, Inc. that was completed on March 30, 2007. Reclassifications of prior-period amounts have been made, where appropriate, to reflect comparable operating results for the spinoff of the Wireline segment's non-strategic local exchange and related business assets in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in the first quarter of 2008.

Verizon Communications Inc. today reported that it continued to grow sales of broadband, wireless and strategic business services in the fourth quarter 2008. Strong customer and revenue growth contributed to 43 cents in diluted earnings per share (EPS) in the quarter, compared with 37 cents per share in the fourth quarter 2007.

On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), fourth-quarter 2008 EPS was 61 cents, compared with 62 cents in the fourth quarter 2007.

On an annual basis, Verizon reported $2.26 in 2008 EPS from continuing operations, compared with $1.90 in 2007. On an adjusted annual basis, 2008 EPS from continuing operations was $2.54, a 7.6 percent increase, compared with 2007 EPS of $2.36.

'Able to Compete Effectively in This Economic Environment'

"Verizon has shown that it is able to compete effectively in this economic environment," said Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg. "We grew profits and maintained strong cash flows throughout 2008. In the fourth quarter, we continued to produce top-line growth, fueled by strong sales volumes for broadband, wireless and strategic business services.

"The Verizon story in 2008 was one of customer growth and product innovation, based on the strategic technology and broadband infrastructure investments we have made year after year," Seidenberg said. "We have built a solid foundation to continue to create value for our customers and shareholders in 2009 and beyond."

Consolidated Revenue Growth

Verizon's total operating revenues grew 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter 2008, increasing to $24.6 billion from $23.8 billion in the fourth quarter 2007. After adjusting for the spinoff of non-strategic local exchange and related Wireline business assets early in 2008 (non-GAAP), this represents an increase of 4.6 percent. Total operating expenses in the fourth quarter 2008 increased 1.9 percent to $20.8 billion, or 4.1 percent on an adjusted basis, compared with the fourth quarter 2007.

For 2008, annual operating revenues were $97.4 billion, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2007 on a reported basis and 5.1 percent on an adjusted basis. Operating expenses totaled $80.5 billion in 2008, an increase of 3.3 percent from 2007 on a reported basis and 4.2 percent on an adjusted basis.

Continued Strong Cash Flows

Cash flows from operations totaled $26.6 billion in 2008, compared with $25.7 billion in 2007. Dividends and share repurchases totaled $6.4 billion in 2008. Capital expenditures totaled $17.2 billion in 2008, compared with $17.5 billion in 2007. For 2009, Verizon is targeting capital spending, excluding amounts related to the acquisition of Alltel Corporation, to be less than the 2008 total.

At year-end 2008, total debt was $52.0 billion, compared with $44.8 billion at the end of the third quarter 2008. Verizon ended 2008 with $9.8 billion in cash and cash equivalents, most of which was held for use in completing the acquisition of Alltel in January 2009.

Details of 4Q Adjustments

Adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter 2008 excluded the following after-tax amounts: $424 million, or 15 cents per share, for severance, pension and benefit charges related to pension settlements from previously announced workforce reductions and severance charges associated with workforce reductions that began in the fourth quarter and will continue in 2009; $35 million, or 1 cent per share, for merger integration costs; and $31 million, or 1 cent per share, for an other-than-temporary decline in the fair value of investments in certain marketable securities.

Adjusted earnings in the fourth quarter 2007 excluded the following after-tax amounts: 16 cents per share for severance and other related expenses; 5 cents per share for taxes and expenses associated with an increase in the distributable earnings from the company's Vodafone Omnitel N.V. investment; 2 cents per share for merger integration costs; and 1 cent per share for costs related to the spinoff of non-strategic local exchange and related Wireline business assets.

Wireless Delivers Another Strong Performance

In the fourth quarter 2008, Verizon Wireless continued to deliver service ARPU growth, strong customer loyalty, and sustained high margins:

* Organic growth totaled 1.4 million net customer additions, essentially all of which were retail.

* Retail net customer additions totaled 1.2 million. This included a net loss of 122,000 retail customers, resulting primarily from the closing of a previously announced exchange agreement with another carrier. Verizon Wireless had entered into this agreement to comply with conditions imposed in connection with regulatory approval of the company's acquisition of Rural Cellular Corporation, which closed in August 2008.

* Verizon Wireless added 5.8 million organic net new retail customers in 2008 - expected to be the most of any U.S. wireless carrier.

* At the end of the quarter, Verizon Wireless had 72.1 million total customers.

* Verizon Wireless continued to have a high-quality customer base, with 70.0 million retail customers (not including Alltel) - the most of any U.S. wireless brand. Following the recently completed Alltel acquisition, Verizon Wireless now serves more than 80 million customers, excluding markets to be divested.

* Verizon Wireless continued to have low churn - 1.35 percent churn among all customers, and 1.05 percent among the company's retail post-paid customers.

* Verizon Wireless continued its double-digit revenue growth, with total quarterly revenues of $12.8 billion, up 12.3 percent year over year. Full-year revenues were $49.3 billion, up 12.4 percent. Service revenues in the fourth quarter were $11.1 billion, up 12.0 percent year over year, and $42.6 billion for the full year, up 12.2 percent.

* This revenue growth was driven by accretion in ARPU (average monthly revenue per customer), which increased year over year for the 11th consecutive quarter. Total service ARPU of $51.72 was up 1.4 percent year over year, reflecting strong growth in total data ARPU, which was up 27.9 percent over the same period.

* Wireless operating income margin reached 29.7 percent, up 350 basis points on a year- over-year basis. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin on service revenues reached 47.2 percent.

Record FiOS Customer Growth at Wireline

Verizon Wireline reported record growth in the number of new customers of FiOS TV and FiOS Internet, and it continued to increase sales of enterprise strategic services year over year. In the fourth quarter (with prior-period comparisons adjusted to reflect the impact of the spinoff of non-strategic Wireline assets):

* Verizon added 303,000 net new FiOS TV customers, compared with 226,000 in the fourth quarter 2007. The company had 1.9 million FiOS TV customers at year-end 2008, adding nearly 1 million FiOS TV customers since year-end 2007.

* FiOS TV sales penetration (sales as a percentage of potential customers) increased to 20.8 percent, compared with 16.0 percent in the fourth quarter 2007. FiOS TV service was available for sale to 9.2 million premises by year-end 2008. This represented a 57 percent increase in the availability of FiOS TV - and, by extension, of "triple play" bundles of FiOS TV, Internet and voice services - since year-end 2007.

* Verizon added 282,000 net new FiOS Internet customers, compared with 244,000 in the fourth quarter 2007. The company had nearly 2.5 million FiOS Internet customers at year-end 2008, adding nearly 1 million FiOS Internet customers since year-end 2007.

* FiOS Internet sales penetration increased to 24.9 percent, compared with 20.7 percent in the fourth quarter 2007. FiOS Internet was available for sale to nearly 10 million premises by year-end 2008.

* Broadband and video revenues from consumer customers totaled nearly $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter 2008 - representing year-over-year quarterly growth of 42.0 percent.

* Growing revenue from broadband and video services drove consumer ARPU in legacy Verizon wireline markets (which excludes consumer markets served by the former MCI) to $68.46 for the fourth quarter 2008, a 14.3 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter 2007.

* Sales of strategic business services - such as IP (Internet protocol), managed services, Ethernet and optical ring services - generated $1.5 billion in revenue in the quarter, up 8.4 percent from the fourth quarter 2007.

Additional Highlights

Wireless

* The Alltel acquisition expanded the Verizon Wireless network to cover nearly the entire U.S. population and made Verizon Wireless the nation's largest carrier in terms of total customers - in addition to its traditional position of being the leading carrier in terms of retail customers, revenues and margins.

* At the end of 2008, retail customers (postpaid and prepaid) represented 97 percent of the company's base.

* Verizon Wireless continued to lead the industry in cost efficiency. Monthly cash expense per customer (non-GAAP) decreased in the fourth quarter and for the full year to $27.29 and $28.12 in 2008 from $28.75 and $28.24 in 2007, respectively.

* Data revenues of $10.7 billion for the full year were up 44 percent over 2007. In the fourth quarter, data revenues were 26.8 percent of all service revenues, up from 21.3 percent in the fourth quarter 2007. Verizon Wireless had 55.1 million retail data customers at year-end - 79 percent of the retail customer base and a 16.8 percent increase over year-end 2007.

* More than 65 percent of the company's retail customers - 45.5 million - had 3G broadband-capable devices by year-end. The company continued to extend the reach of the nation's largest and most reliable 3G (third generation) network, which now covers more than 274 million people after the Alltel acquisition.

* Customers across the country lined up to purchase the new BlackBerry Storm, available exclusively in the U.S. from Verizon Wireless and launched in November. Designed for both consumers and business customers, the BlackBerry Storm offers customers the reliability of the Verizon Wireless 3G network and the full power of a revolutionary touch-screen, multimedia smartphone with global connectivity.

* Verizon Wireless, with the most global data coverage of any U.S. wireless carrier, received top honors during the quarter for its global services and international solutions that help travelers stay connected around the globe. Readers of Global Traveler magazine selected Verizon Wireless as the world's best wireless service provider for the second consecutive year. Business Traveler magazine readers chose Verizon Wireless as the world's best wireless data service provider in the 2008 "Best in Business Travel" awards.

* During the quarter, Verizon Wireless customers sent or received more than 90 billion text messages - more than double the number of text messages sent in the same period a year ago. Customers also sent 1.8 billion picture/video messages and completed 50 million music and video downloads during the quarter.

Wireline

* Wireline total operating revenues were $11.9 billion. Verizon Telecom, which serves domestic consumer and small-business customers, and Verizon Business, which serves large-business and government customers worldwide, each had 2.3 percent year-over-year quarterly revenue declines. At Verizon Telecom, this was the smallest decrease in 12 quarters. Wireline total operating expenses were $11.2 billion, a 1.3 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter 2007.

* By the end of 2008, Verizon's FiOS fiber-to-the-premises network passed 12.7 million premises throughout the company's wireline service territory - greater than the company's target of 12 million by year-end 2008. Fiber-to-the-home now passes approximately 40 percent of the total households in Verizon's landline footprint.

* Total broadband connections were 8.7 million, a net increase of 214,000 over the third quarter 2008. This includes a decrease of 68,000 DSL-based Verizon High Speed Internet connections, which was more than offset by the increase in FiOS Internet customers. The 8.7 million is an increase of 8.2 percent year over year.

* Broadband and TV products now account for more than 31 percent of consumer ARPU in legacy markets, compared with 22.7 percent in the fourth quarter 2007. The ARPU among FiOS customers continues to grow and is more than $133 per month.

* Wireline data revenues - which represented 43.6 percent of total Wireline revenues - were $5.2 billion in the fourth quarter 2008, an increase of 10.9 percent compared with the fourth quarter 2007. This includes revenues from consumer broadband services, wholesale data transport and Verizon Business data services.

* Verizon Business continued to announce significant new capabilities: enhancements to its voice-over-Internet-protocol portfolio; a new managed telepresence (video-meeting) solution; a service that enables managed hosting customers to easily and securely change online content; a solution for more efficiently providing essential applications to employees worldwide; and a managed unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solution aimed at helping employees of global enterprises work more closely with one another.

* Verizon Business also continued to expand its global network reach and capabilities, announcing the installation of 26 Private IP (PIP) edge switches, including new nodes in Morocco and Pakistan. The company now has edge switches deployed in 59 countries and supports PIP services in more than 120 countries. Additional network enhancements included installation of eight Converged Packet Access nodes and further mesh network expansion in Asia-Pacific and North America, including the deployment of nodes in Singapore, Toronto, Montreal and several U.S. cities. In an additional seven U.S. markets, the company deployed multiplexers that enable remote provisioning and trouble isolation while providing reduced latency.

* New agreements with multinational customers included Nikon Corporation, NSG Group, Ingenico and Johnson Controls. Verizon Business also signed new contracts with several U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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