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Verizon added 1.5 million subscribers in Q4 2015, beating analysts’ expectations

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Mike Mozart/Flickr
T-Mobile will say what it will, but Verizon painted a pretty rosy picture of business during its Q4 2015 earnings call on Thursday. America’s largest wireless carrier reported better-than-expected revenue, decreased customer turnover, and the addition of more than a million postpaid subscribers.

Verizon’s revenue for the quarter, $34.25 billion, beat Wall Street’s forecast of $34.10 billion and represents a 3.2 percent year over year jump. Earnings beat expectations too, though only by a hair — the carrier posted 89 cents a share versus the projected 88 cents. Overall, 2015 revenue reached $131.6 billion, a growth of 3.6 percent.

Verizon attributed the growth in earnings to the 1.5 million wireless postpaid subscribers it added last quarter. That number’s down half a million from a year ago — the carrier gained 2 million customers in Q4 2014 — but better than analysts’ estimate of 1.42 million. And fewer customers defected in Q4 2015 compared to a year ago: The churn rate dropped to 0.96, a decrease of 0.18 percent.

That’s especially impressive considering the strength of the competition. T-Mobile, which has yet to announce its Q4 results, revealed last year that it added 2 million total subscribers near the tail end of 2015. AT&T, meanwhile, racked up 1.6 million new customers, while Sprint added 237,000.

Verizon’s wireline business performed above expectations, too. Thanks to a net add of 99,000 and 20,000 FiOS Internet and FiOS TV subscribers, respectively, the division generated $3.53 billion, up 6.8 percent from a year ago. It wasn’t all flowers and rainbows — Verizon saw decline in its landline business, and revenue per account fell to $148.30, or lower than the Street’s forecast of $149.61 — but all told, the company ended Q4 with a hefty net income of $5.39 billion compared to a year-ago loss of $2.23 billion. Investors seem pleased: Verizon’s shares are up 1 percent to $45 as of the time of writing.

The carrier’s not slowing down. On its earnings call to investors, Verizon reaffirmed its commitment to Go90, its social-centric video platform aimed at younger customers, and touted its new FreeBee Data 360 sponsored data program as a competitive answer to similar services (e.g., AT&T’s program). Additionally, the company said that it’ll deploy 5G wireless by 2017 — it’ll begin testing the technology next year, and promised that it would be the first to launch it in the United States — and said that it’ll continue to invest in its fastest-growing segment: the Internet of Things. Verizon’s business for connected “smart” devices saw an 18 percent growth in revenue to $200 million.

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