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Verizon Q4 Earnings Released – 46% of Postpaid Accounts Now on Share Everything, 1.6 Million New Connections

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Verizon released its Q4 2013 financials this morning, reporting $21.1 billion in revenue on the Wireless side of the business, bringing their total for the year up to $81 billion. Big Red saw 8 percent year-over-year growth in the quarter, which gives them five straight quarters of at least 8 percent growth. In other words, it was another solid quarter for the 4G LTE network leader in the U.S. wireless game.

Outside of the financial stuff, I found a couple of other bullet points interesting, to say the least. Verizon reported that they brought in 1.6 million retail postpaid connections during the quarter, which brings their total for the year up to 4.1 million. You may recall T-Mobile at CES claiming that they hit 1.6 million in Q4 as well, bringing their total to 4.4 million on the year. Those were record numbers for T-Mobile with all of their major UnCarrier moves, while Verizon is putting out those numbers with things business as usual. At least that’s how they made it sound. At the end of the year, Verizon stands at 98.7 million post paid connections. 

On another note, Verizon said during their earnings call that 46% of their accounts are now on Share Everything plans. I’m still struggling to pick my jaw up off the floor at that number. In other words, they are having no trouble moving customers off of unlimited data and onto plans that are arguably more expensive with less benefits.

Oh, during the earnings call, Verizon CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo also dodged multiple questions about the recent changes by T-Mobile and AT&T. He continued to say “expect us to respond accordingly” as they need to. In other words, they aren’t scared or worried at the moment by what their competitors are up to.

Other notes:

  • 8.8 million smartphones activated in Q4
  • 69% of total data traffic now over Verizon’s 4G LTE network
  • 625,000 postpaid tablet connections made in Q4

Here are the highlights from the Wireless portion of the earnings report:

Wireless Financial Highlights

  • Total revenues were $21.1 billion in fourth-quarter 2013, up 5.7 percent year over year. Service revenues in the quarter totaled $17.7 billion, up 8.0 percent year over year – marking the fifth consecutive quarter of at least 8 percent growth. Retail service revenues grew 7.5 percent year over year, to $17.0 billion.
  • For full-year 2013, total revenues were $81.0 billion, up 6.8 percent over 2012, and service revenues were $69.0 billion in 2013, up 8.3 percent year over year.
  • Retail postpaid ARPA (average revenue per account) grew 7.1 percent over fourth-quarter 2012, to $157.21 per month.
  • In fourth-quarter 2013, wireless operating income margin was 29.5 percent, and segment EBITDA margin on service revenues (non-GAAP) was 47.0 percent, up 560 basis points from fourth-quarter 2012. For full-year 2013, operating income margin was 32.1 percent, up 340 basis points from 2012; segment EBITDA margin was 49.5 percent, up 290 basis points year over year.

Wireless Operational Highlights

  • Verizon Wireless added 1.7 million retail net connections in the fourth quarter, including 1.6 million retail postpaid net connections. The company added 4.1 million net retail postpaid connections in 2013. These additions exclude acquisitions and adjustments.
  • At the end of 2013, the company had 102.8 million retail connections, a 4.7 percent increase year over year – including 96.8 million retail postpaid connections.
  • Verizon Wireless had 35.1 million retail postpaid accounts at the end of the fourth quarter and an average of 2.8 connections per account, up 4.5 percent year over year.
  • At year-end 2013, smartphones accounted for 70 percent of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 67 percent at the end of third-quarter 2013.
  • Retail postpaid churn was 0.96 percent in fourth-quarter 2013, up 1 basis point year over year and down 1 basis point from third-quarter 2013. Total retail churn was 1.27 percent in fourth-quarter 2013, up 3 basis points year over year.
  • Verizon Wireless has substantially completed deployment of its 4G LTE network, covering more than 99 percent of its current 3G network footprint. The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network is now available to 97 percent of the U.S. population in more than 500 markets covering nearly 305 million people, including those in areas served by the company’s LTE in Rural America partners.
  • The company continued to enhance its 4G LTE smartphone lineup. In the fourth quarter, Verizon Wireless launched the Nokia Lumia 2520, the Samsung S4 mini and Galaxy III mini, the HTC One Max and the BlackBerry Z30. The company also launched the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack and Verizon Ellipsis 7 Tablet, and the Delphi Connect with 4G LTE, which offers vehicle diagnostics as well as a mobile hotspot for up to five connected devices.
  • In November, Verizon Wireless opened its first Destination Store at Mall of America in Minneapolis. The store, containing more than 9,000 square feet, features lifestyle zones that help customers discover the latest gadgets, devices and solutions.

Full earnings report.

  • Artune

    Glad i’m still on unlimited with the LG G2 and I just added the hotspot for 20- something bucks thats running off my unlimited so I’m never leaving this plan, no phone is worth it.

  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    The author mistakenly believes that everyone had unlimited data when Share Everything debuted in June 2012. It was well under 50% then. No one could get unlimited data after July 2011. Only 36% had smartphones then so the number would have been 36% at best in June 2012 and was less than that.

  • ki11ak3nn

    So glad I switched to T-Mobile yesterday. I’ll need to time to check out service, but so far everything looks good. Call quality is great and I have unlimited data again. So I’ll see how this turns out. I just need to get my hands on a Nexus 5.

  • TC Infantino

    I am holding onto my Unlimited Data for as long as they offer it.

  • http://infotainmentempire.blogspot.com Rob

    I wonder what percentage is unlimited. I’m guessing it’s not 54% since not everyone is on a share everything plan (i.e. feature phone with limited data usage or none).

  • bang!

    Haft of these comments are people complaining about how expensive Verizon is, but you choice to stay with them because of their outstanding network. Verizon charges more money monthly because they put more money into their network. You think T-Mobile is going to charge less when they get as big as Verizon?( If that ever happens)

    • Foo

      For many of us it’s the unlimited. If I was on limited, then screw that noise – I am going with T-Mo or something. The *truly* unlimited with network coverage is what makes our current deals worth it.

    • flosserelli

      Two words: Grandfathered unlimited
      True unlimited (not throttled unlimited). Pretty much the only reason why I am still with VZW. Yeah, their service is great in my area, but that is not the main reason why I still pay them every month. When VZW takes away unlimited data for good, I will probably jump to T-Mo.

  • David Caccavo

    basically they flat out lie and tell you that you will save $20+ a month by switching to a share everything and when you realize you are only saving $5 they tell you that the unlimited option is deactivated from the account. they did it to my wife and it is the biggest piece of crap scam.

  • master94

    It seems no matter what VZW does to hurt customers people keep going to them. Proves that in the end, the network is all that matters. Tmobile if you want to keep doing well, you better improve that network,

  • picaso86

    Well, I am in a weird place right now with Verizon. I have 900 minutes + 5 numbers for unlimited calling, unlimited text and UNLIMITED data= $85.78 monthly with a 22% discount from my company. I currently have a OG Droid Rzr Maxx and due for an upgrade in March. Now, would you guys switch to T-Mobile and get a new phone with the JUMP or buy a new one full retail and stay with Verizon? I live in NJ and T-Mobile has pretty good coverage. What would you do? I still feel like I pay too much for a single line.

    PS: I have a budget of $300 for a phone.

    • Renard Fiossa

      Analysis pretty much has been in favour of T-Mobile’s JUMP programme.
      I’d jump ship and go with T-Mobile if I were you. As for me, only thing stopping me from giving the middle finger to VZW is the fact T-Mobile hasn’t deployed their glorious LTE in my area

      • picaso86

        That was my initial concern a few months ago however, my brother has the Note 2 with T-Mobile and he gets ridiculous speeds at our apartment. Not mentioned the fact that my phone is 2 years old now and 4G on Verizon is not what it used to be anymore.

        • Renard Fiossa

          Indeed, indeed
          About 8 months ago it was possible for me to pull a more-than-reasonable 30 Mb/s down on most Verizon phones in my high school (where there was only one bar!), lately I’m lucky to be able to stand ~100 metres from a tower and pull 13 Mb/s
          On the other hand, T-Mobile’s got potential. A lot.

        • needa

          i thought the jump ship was only for paying the etf. and the value of your phone. if you are out of contract how does jumping ship help? there is no way i would leave verizon if i were paying that low of a price. 5 lines is $110 at tmo and you only get 500mb of high speed data? maybe i am missing something here.

          • picaso86

            I am still paying the subsidized fee even though my contract is over. IF I wish to upgrade in the future, I would I have to pay full retail price for the phone.

  • Renard Fiossa

    In other news, the sky is blue…. seriously, who needs a news article to tell them VZW is constantly adding new subscribers?
    For now I’ve just decided to go without a mobile of any sort, given how Sprint sucks ass (gave them two chances, never again), AT&T and Verizon are usable but over-priced, and T-Mobile is yet to deploy LTE in my area

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    I’m all for it if they use this money to improve their network.

  • James Hill

    Here is why I keep Verizon Wireless: 700 minutes, 1000 SMS/MMS, Unlimited 4G (I get 15-45 Mbps of which I use about 200,000 MB per 30 days) and I pay about $105.00 per month. I tether my 4G and save over buying Cox’s $62.99 + tax for 25 Mbps, and my connection is solid. As long as big red keeps on providing my the service thy have, I will keep providing them with my money.

    • Adrynalyne

      Yeah but you are using their unlimited data against their TOS, unless you have a tethering plan.

      I am not judging, but I don’t see that as a plus for Verizon. It just means they haven’t acted upon a violation yet.

      • James Hill

        Yeah, if they ever feel the need to terminate my account for violating the TOS I will be going to Big Pink for service. Those of us in Unlimited Data accounts are being slowly killed off, I don’t think it’s because VZW is terminating them. People are either leaving VZW for other carriers, or they are being tricked into going onto a tiered data plan. Verizon is not going to bother me about my data usage.

  • SA_NYC

    Interesting that the stock (ticker: VZ) is down over 2%. I guess the street was expecting even better results.

  • NyReynolds

    I’ll share NOTHING!

  • GJV

    “…onto plans that are arguably more expensive with less benefits.” FEWER benefits /grammarpolice

  • mcdonsco

    As long as they continue to NOT talk about how they will begin phasing out grandfathered unlimited data plans, I’m happy!

  • PSU_DI

    What’s telling is the churn rate. Normally VZW has always been in the 1 or 2 slot in Q4 2013 they are 3rd in the top 4 carriers.
    Verizon may still be adding new customers like crazy but the amount of people leaving them continues to increase slowly.

    http://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2014/01/report-just-15-t-mo-postpaid-subscribers-looking-churn

  • addicuss

    46% of postpaid customers are morons that don’t know how to manage their money

  • chris125

    Only reason I am with verizon is for unlimited data. Once they try and take that away I will be gone. Lucky I got in on the “glitch” earlier this year so I am locked in for another 2 years with unlimited data. Most likely then it will be time to switch

  • Philip J. Fry

    Go to hell Verizon.

    • matthew

      easy there…

    • MWF

      Why should they Philly?

      • Chris

        Phillip is just a kid. look at his profile picture

        • Philip J. Fry

          Chris, how many times were you dropped on your head when you was a baby?

    • Chris

      Calling people names doesn’t make you look cool.

      • Adrynalyne

        Never stopped you.

        • Chris

          I hate to break it to you but I like woman.

          You sure love to respond to all my posts.

          • Adrynalyne

            Do you like “woman” as you put it, as much as you like talking about molesting children and/or them committing suicide?

          • Philip J. Fry

            * I like WOMEN. learn to spell, troll.

  • Scott

    Clearly there weren’t enough Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners that said no more and left, myself included. Need that consistent coverage. At least they are respecting the Moto X

    • Chris

      For now….

    • Franklin Ramsey

      I don’t know how many Verizon Galaxy Nexus Owners you thought there were. Outside of Tech people, I’ve never heard of any normal user who has actually owned that phone.

      • Ian

        I knew quite a few, but I also know a lot of people.

      • Scott

        Point taken…

  • htowngtr

    <—- Holding out strong on my unlimited DATA

    • Scott

      I held out as long as I could. I ended up needing more minutes and I never went over 2.5 gb of data anyway… ended up switching carriers.

      • Ian

        Understandable. However, the bet is on the trend of data usage. Which is going no where but up.

      • Big_EZ

        We have a legacy 1400 minute plan with 10 my circle numbers. Between the my circle and family & friends we only use 500-600 of our minutes. I need to bump up my texts from 250 to 500 but I’m worried they may mess up my plan. We have 3 lines, one is a feature phone so all upgrades get transferred to that line.

        • michael arazan

          We have the same except I have had the unlimited text with unlimited data on a Family Plan.

          One key feature that should of been in the article is how Verizon has paid 0% in taxes for the past 4 years and if the trend is going to stay. They have skipped out on paying over 100 Billion in taxes.

    • Nunyur_Biznezz

      enjoy that for the next 5 months

      • htowngtr

        If they actually do kick everyone off (which I seriously doubt) then cya Verizon.

  • Ian Smith

    Yeah, but how many people have left them since the N5 came out and T-Mobile started composing breakup letters? That’s what I’d love to know.

  • jeff manning

    the oligopoly of the wireless industry has a strong reign. Let the consumers continually get screwed over.

  • DroidzFX

    -2 accounts here

    • Scott

      Same for me.

  • cobalt27

    Although both my brother and I are each individually financially capable of having our own phone contracts, we both agreed with our parents to stick to our old family plan because of the unlimited data. We all use quite a bit streaming music and movies.

    I keep telling my mom that if she ever wants to buy an on-contract subsidied phone, to give me the whole plan and she and my dad are more than welcome to start a new Share Everything plan and do that. But she just bought an iPhone 5S at full price (and I bought my dad a Moto X off contract for Christmas) and they want unlimited too so we’re good to go. We’re not giving it up until Verizon forcibly takes it from us.

    • Chris

      Knowing Verizon that may be sometime this year.

      Hopefully not though….

    • DanSan

      same here, my brother and I are on unlimited plans and we wont give them up until verizon sends me a letter telling me its done. hopefully that isnt until after the summer because word on the street is tmobile is set to blanket long island, NY with LTE. I have no problem switching now, just dont have a need yet. when they take my unlimited data, thats when i go.

      friend at work upgrade his GS2 to a N5 this past week and he is on tmobile. i dont get LTE inside our office building yet he gets full blown 4G (most likely HSPA+) and gets a solid 15-20mbps down inside the building

    • AlexKCMO

      What’s interesting, is I think a lot of us holding out are nearing our upgrade. I think towards the middle of the year when they realize “There are all these people who have either paid full price (not on the EDGE program or whatever) or aren’t upgrading and are sitting there without contracts.” That’s going to cause a problem because you can’t rely on un-contracted users to continue being customers (which makes accountants uneasy). I think that’s either going to cause them to force users off unlimited who are off contract or allow some sort of grandfathering after figuring out the risk.

      The good news is that most people realize why limited data is bad. People I work with who double click links on web pages refuse to let go of unlimited data – and if they’re holding on, that tells me “lay-people” are aware. Those who bought a SGSIII at launch are due for upgrades, which is around the time they should expect a big influx of new purchases. I seriously think they’re going to end up rethinking the grandfathering policy this year. Also, it makes good business sense, AT&T isn’t offering unlimited, great way to get/keep business.

      Additionally, and I take this with a grain of salt. I had a post I made here like 4 months ago get a random reply that said “Hold on, Unlimited Data is coming back.” or something like that. Would be amazing if it came through.

    • Stephen Cox

      My brother, wife, and I are doing the same with my parents lines. We all have smartphones, all on the 1400 min Talk & Text Plus Data plan w/ 10 F&F, and its about $44/month for each line when split up ($220 for all 5). We don’t use much data, but that $20 Data discount per line per mouth is worth NOT upgrading for.

      So, for Christmas, everyone who was stuck on the Thunderbolt got a shiny like-new used Galaxy Nexus.

  • AbbyZFresh

    I hate their expensive plans. But their coverage is definitely worth it for my phone. Never had a signal problem.

    • Chris

      Their coverage is great. Thats the only good thing they have going for them. But their expensive plans and phones loaded with crap is whats not good. Yes others load their phones up with crap as well, but i know with my Evo LTE very little bloat was on it and only a few I had to disable. The rest I could uninstall with no problem.

    • DroidzFX

      Pre paid ATT has good coverage too and I pay $70 less a month.

      • Justin W

        StraightTalk with under $50/month spent on my wireless bill here. Same AT&T network with a much better price point.

        • capecodty

          Same here.

        • Scott

          That’s what I switched to. So far so good (as of today, I switched Friday night.)

        • TC Infantino

          I was helping my parents research Straight Talk because they want a smartphone. Currently my father is on VZW using a feature (flip) phone, and we were trying to see if my old VZW smartphone could work on the Straight Talk network. The phone passed the ‘Check to see if it is compatable’ test. But after reading many customer reviews, I warned my parents off using ST. Over 85% of the reviews were negative, giving only 1 star out of 5. Most were complaints about their customer service, but some were about mixups over phone activations, cancelations for screwups on ST’s end, and loosing phone numbers that the person had been using for years.

          • Justin W

            No issues like that on my end. Customer service isn’t great, but it’s no worse than a company like, say, Dell or other huge company that outsources it’s entire call center operations. As for the losing the phone number thing – I use Google Voice, and that’s where my previous phone number went, and I did that specifically to prevent StraightTalk from losing it, but it hasn’t happened yet and I”m starting to thank all those reviews are just people who didn’t follow the ToS in any way, shape, or form (by not horribly abusuing data), or just plain not paying the bill monthly.

    • Kevin

      How about all their fees, bloatware, horrible customer service, and VZW branding everything?

    • Cowboydroid

      Eh. I’m not seeing a huge difference between them and T-mobile where I live and travel. I get better call coverage with T-mobile in some places, better coverage on Verizon in others.

      But I definitely get better LTE download speeds on T-mobile. Like night and day.

      • AbbyZFresh

        Do you travel far around the country on a daily basis like i do? Or do you just stay in the general metro area?

        Big difference there. T-Mobile doens’t exactly reach the rural areas quite well where i often pass through driving.

        • Cowboydroid

          I travel between three states frequently.

          I can make calls fine generally in rural areas. I don’t need a high-speed data connection in rural areas, either, since there’s not a lot going on. Verizon’s data was almost non-existent in rural areas, so not a big difference with T-mobile.

    • ceejw

      I streamed the entire AFC championship game over LTE on my Nexus 7 in 1080p while driving from Chicago to Detroit on Sunday. Their coverage is phenomenal.

  • ezbbycame2play

    “69% of total data traffic now over Verizon’s 4G LTE network”
    I wonder how slow my speeds will be with that number at 90%+

    • Eurasianman

      Mine has already slowed down quite a bit. I use to constantly get over 25 Mbps. Now, I am lucky if I sustain 5-10 Mbps :(

      • chris125

        Well technically that is what they are advertising, but they have been increasing their spectrum in heavy markets so hopefully that can boost speeds somewhat.

  • JBartcaps

    Verizon tried to push my family to a Share Everything, they said they couldn’t activate a GS4 because our current plan wouldn’t allow it (Our plan is 7 years old). Got a supervisor on the phone and had no issues after that. This is probably how 46% of people got stuck with Share Everything.

    • T4rd

      Lol, I guess you didn’t have an LTE phone before that? Upgraded my wife to her GS4 (from a Rezound) with no issues; just swapped the SIM cards.

      • JBartcaps

        Yup had a Motorola Droid Pro

    • Chris

      amazing how much power supervisors have above bottom of the line workers huh?

    • Big_EZ

      They’ve called me several times asking if I would like them to lower my bill, and say I could save $30 a month with a 2 GB share everything plan. I tell them I’m not an idiot and that I can do basic math, my bill would double under share everything. Between me and my wife we use about 25 gb a month. My bill before taxes would be $335, and now it’s only $170.

      • charles rogers

        Yep they’re sending me postcards like they are on vacation or something. UPgrade your phone!

        • TC Infantino

          They are doing the same to me. Plus emails telling me how great the latest lineup of phones is and I should upgrade since I have an upgrade available on my line.

      • Catatoniccube

        Get some home Internet!

        • Big_EZ

          I have home Internet, but it doesn’t help when I’m not at home.

    • Nunyur_Biznezz

      Actually despite what the haters say some people DO save on Share Everything. We are paying $17 a month less by switching to it.

  • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

    They aren’t having trouble moving people to the new plans because many, many people that need/want new phones can’t afford to pay full price for a phone up-front. And not many people keep up with the different options that are available.

    • charles rogers

      I think the average consumer just walks in and says what phones can i get for .

      • charles rogers

        Apparently i just tried to code something. I don’t know what to do.

      • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

        Yep

  • T4rd

    Proud member of the 54%! =p Probably considerably less than that for unlimited data users though as there’s probably still a lot of standard tiered data users too.

    • JBartcaps

      54%?

      • T4rd

        Yes.. 54%. Now I just made you look special. =p

        • JBartcaps

          I GOT MATH RIGHT! LOOK MOM!

        • JBartcaps

          Wait…You changed it to 54%, now I’ve seen what you’ve done!

          • T4rd

            No wai! How dare you accuse me of being wrong and editing my comment! =p

    • EdubE24

      Family is still on unlimited…paying less than I would with any other company!!!

      • T4rd

        Same here, bruh! *Bro five*

  • Thomas

    Verizon bashing in 3…..2……1……

    • T4rd

      F*@# Verizon right in the @ss with a cactus!! >-O

      • Ernestine

        We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.

    • John Legere

      Time to get a Verizon tattoo on my ass

      • T4rd

        I got one on my taint, along with the LTE symbol. B-)

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Wow, the Verizon Logo is everywhere.

      • matthew

        ewwwww

  • Boblank84

    Not sure how they manage to rip off that many more people every year, just glad i’m not one of them anymore.

    • DanSan

      probably the same way people got tricked into voting for obama…

      clueless people.

      • John Legere

        You mean we were supposed to vote for a greedy pos republican?

        • JBartcaps

          You do a really bad job at being a fake account, like really really bad.

          • John Legere

            Good

        • matthew

          so we can open airplane windows?

        • KleenDroid

          The Dems won’t be happy till they do to the whole country as they did to Detroit.

      • Voltism

        Because the alternatives are worse
        People who bring politics into unrelated topics never have a good point to make

        • John Legere

          Shows how classless the GOP is. Always bringing Obama into random articles.

          • jimt

            He did hold back on ACA and Benghazi which they always throw in to every random sentence they utter.

          • Justin W

            Am I the only one who refuses to discuss politics on the internet?

          • JBartcaps

            Sometimes people don’t realize what this site is about

        • Kevin

          What about that “its happening guy”? I heard he was good politician why didn’t we give him a chance?

  • Christian Trevor Clauss

    You got this, T-mobile.