Verizon just announced its financial results for Q3 2012, revealing increased smartphone and LTE adoption along with buoyant revenues. The wireless carrier added 1.5 million postpaid connections — its highest number in four years — and now has a total subscriber base of almost 96 million. Smartphone sales for the quarter rose to 6.8 million, accounting for 79 percent of postpaid phone sales. The 53 percent of the carrier's customers are now using smartphones. 4.5 million LTE devices were activated over the quarter, up from 3.2 million last quarter, and over 35 percent of all data traffic on Verizon's network is on LTE. As for the size of that ever-growing network, Verizon says that its LTE network now covers more than 250 million people in the US, over 80 percent of the country's population. That's up from the 75 percent coverage we last heard.
Increased smartphone and LTE use helped increase Verizon's average revenue per account (ARPA) from $143.32 to $145.42; a modest increase, but still significantly higher than last year's $136.57. Verizon's churn rate (the number of customers not renewing their contracts) rose slightly quarter-over-quarter to 0.91%, but that's still down from the 0.94% figure announced this time last year.
Verizon's wireline business remained stable, counting 136,000 new FiOS internet customers and 119,000 FiOS video subscribers. The figures are almost identical to last quarter when the company reported 134,000 internet and 120,000 video additions. Q3 operating revenues dropped $235 million year-over-year, thanks largely to poor results from its Global Enterprise and Wholesale divisions. Consumer retail rose slightly to offset the drop, and wireline operating income stood at $41 million for the quarter, down from $53 million last year. Total retail service revenue for the quarter was $15.5 billion, an increase of 7.3 percent year-over-year. Verizon will be holding a conference call this morning to give more details on its quarterly performance, and we'll update this post with any take-outs from the call.
Update: Verizon is giving its quarterly recap conference call right now and just indicated that 3.4 million of its smartphone sales were for Android devices, three million of which were LTE devices. Verizon also sold 3.1 million iPhones, 21 percent of which were iPhone 5 models running on Verizon's LTE network. This means Verizon sold more than 650,000 iPhone 5 devices between its September 21st launch and the end of the quarter. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo also noted that the iPhone 5 was unsurprisingly supply-constrained in Q3, and that "we're not sure where we're going to stand in the fourth quarter." It sounds like Apple's latest might continue to be hard to come by for the near future.
Verizon also indicated that 13 percent of its retail postpaid customers had adopted its new Share Everything data plans, with Verizon CFO Fran Shammo calling the new plans "successful and well-received" and saying that Share Everything "proved to be yet another compelling reason for customers to choose Verizon." The new plans are also the reason why Verizon is now reporting ARPA rather than ARPU — the company is very focused on the total value it can get out of a single account, rather than a single user.
Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report.