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Verizon and the Price Wars

Posted on Sunday, Mar 16th 2008

On January 28, Verizon reported its Q4 and fiscal year 2007 results. Earlier coverage is available here and here.

Q4 revenue was $23.8 billion, up 5.5% y-o-y and the same as last quarter. EPS was down 22.9% y-o-y and 15.9% q-o-q to 37 cents. Non GAAP EPS increased 19.2% y-o-y to 62 cents. For the full year, total revenue went up 6% to $93.5 billion. EPS grew marginally to $1.9 while adjusted EPS grew 14.6% to $2.36. It bought back its shares for more than $1.1 billion in Q4 and more than $2.8 billion in 2007.

Segment-wise, Wireline segment had Q4 operating revenue of $12.5 billion, a 1.4% decline mainly due to the expected declines from MCI operations. However, within the segment, strategic services in Verizon Business such as Ethernet, IP, managed services and optical ring services generated $1.4 billion revenue in Q4, a 25.1% growth y-o-y. FiOS has also seen strong growth with the number of FiOS TV customers crossing 1 million.

Verizon Wireless had Q4 revenues of $11.4 billion, up 13.3% while annual revenue increased 15.3% to $43.9 billion. It added 2 million customers in the quarter taking its customer count to 65.7 million, a 11.3% y-o-y growth. However, AT&T leads by 4.4 million with a customer base of 70.1 million. Verizon, however, leads the industry with its churn rate of 1.2%. And to top it, 93% of its customers are post-paid. Retail ARPU increased 1.4% to $51.29 and retail data ARPU shot up by 36% to $11.06.

Verizon recently introduced broadband-capable EV-DO BlackBerry Pearl 8130, Samsung SCH-i760 and Palm Treo 755p as well as the Kyocera KPC680 ExpressCard and the UM 150 USB wireless modem. It also launched Venus and Voyager by LG. However, these just don’t seem to match the effect of iPhone and on February 19, Verizon launched an unlimited calling plan for $99.99. AT&T launched a similar plan 5 hrs later. T-Mobile followed suit 3 hrs later reacting to the price war that affected all the carrier stocks. Verizon hit a 52-week low of $33.30 on February 20. It is currently trading around $34 and its market cap is around $99.5 billion.

Chart for Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ)

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