Verizon Wireless posted a whopping 2.2 million net customer additions, including acquisitions, in the fourth quarter to end the year with 91.2 million customers, up 26.6 percent from the end of 2008.
Additional smartphones, including the Motorola Droid, helped push up data revenues. In the fourth quarter, data revenues comprised 31.9 percent of all service revenues, up from 26.5 percent in the fourth quarter 2008 on a pro forma basis. Data revenues for the full year were up 31 percent over 2008 on a pro forma basis.
Verizon Wireless introduced two Android-based devices in November: the Motorola Droid and the Droid Eris by HTC. Other 3G smartphones launched during the fourth quarter included the BlackBerry Storm2 and BlackBerry Curve 8530, both with built-in Wi-Fi, and the Samsung Omnia II powered by Windows Mobile 6.5.
The company did not release how many Droid units sold, but analytics firm Flurry estimates 250,000 were sold in the first week of sales.
Meanwhile, the carrier added 1.2 million retail net customers in the quarter, almost all of them postpaid, and 4.6 million retail net customers in the full year, excluding acquisitions and adjustments. At the end of 2009, retail customers (postpaid and prepaid) represented 96 percent of the company’s base.
Service revenues in the fourth quarter were $13.5 billion, up 22.5 percent and 5 percent on a pro forma basis. Total revenues were $15.7 billion, up 22.5 percent year over year and 3.1 percent on a pro forma basis. Full-year revenues were $62.1 billion, up 25.9 percent and 6.1 percent on a pro forma basis.
Total churn was 1.42 percent for the quarter. Retail service ARPU decreased 2.2 percent year over year and 0.6 percent on a pro forma basis to $50.75. Retail data ARPU increased to $16.24, up 16.1 percent year over year and 20.5 percent on a pro forma basis.
In an analyst note, Julien Blin of JBB Research said that while management did not make any comments about whether it will carry the iPhone in 2010 (nobody asked in today’s call), the carrier made it clear during the third-quarter earnings call that it was interested in carrying the iPhone. “Clearly, Verizon is looking at the iPhone opportunity as it could help the carrier sustain its lead in terms of wireless data revenue and total subscriber adds,” Blin said, noting that several reports also seem to indicate that Verizon could carry Apple tablet PC this year.