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Verizon Wireless today said its year-over-year quarterly revenue grew by 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, the largest it's been in VZW's 11-year history. The company also touted strong cash flows and 18.2 percent shareholder returns in 2011, but none of it could mask the fact that VZW posted a loss of 71 cents in diluted earners per share (EPS), or a loss of $2.02 billion, compared with earnings of 93 cents a share, or a profit of $2.64 billion one year prior.
According to Reuters, VZW's adjusted Q4 2011 earnings (non-GAAP) of 52 cents per share missed Wall Street expectations by a single penny. Still, VZW maintained a positive outlook.
"Verizon finished 2011 very strong, both in terms of revenue growth and by delivering an 18.2 percent total return to our shareholders for the full year, and the company has great momentum for 2012," said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Verizon Wireless produced particularly strong growth in the fourth quarter. While that diluted wireless margins in the short term, it is good news for revenue and margin growth over the long term, particularly given our leadership in the rapidly developing 4G LTE ecosystem."
While the high cost of Apple's iPhone may have affected Verizon's bottom line, it also contributed to its wireless subscriber growth rate as VZW delivered the highest number of retail net additions in three years. VZW said total wireless revenues reached $18.3 billion in Q4, up 13 percent year-over-year, while data revenues jumped 19.2 percent to $6.3 billion.