Verizon Buoyed By Wireless Growth

Blackberry StormVerizon Communications posted a 15% increase in fourth-quarter profit on the strength of its burgeoning wireless business.

The telecom giant had net income of $1.24 billion, or 43 cents a share--up from $1.07 billion, or 37 cents a year ago. Revenue rose 3.4% to $24.6 billion.

Verizon Wireless' revenue increased 12.3% to $12.8 billion, fueled by growth in data services--including text messaging, email and Internet access. Full-year mobile data revenue increased 44% over 2007. The wireless carrier added 1.2 million new customers in the quarter for a total of 72.1 million, excluding those added through its acquisition of Alltel Corp.

The BlackBerry Storm--rolled out in November as Verizon's answer to the iPhone--has sold 1 million units to date, according to Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday on user complaints about the device, but Strigl estimated that another 200,000 could have been sold if not for limited inventory.

Verizon estimates that 65% of its customers now have 3G-capable handsets. The telecom company's landline business, however, continues to slide as customers switch to cable or wireless service. It lost 911,000 landline customers in the fourth quarter and 3.7 million for the year--a 9.3% decline.

Tags: telecom
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