Verizon FiOS Picking Up Speed: Landline Losses Continue

Verizon Communications reported fourth-quarter earnings this morning (see here for all the details), and it looks like FiOS is gaining momentum. The company added 303,000 FiOS TV subscribers in the fourth quarter and almost 1 million in 2008, bringing the total to 1.9 million out of 9.2 million homes that have access to the service. In contrast, AT&T (s t) is hoping to have 1 million subscribers to its rival IPTV offering, U-verse, by the end of the year.

On the data side, Verizon (S VZ) said 282,000 homes added FiOS high-speed data in the fourth quarter, and almost 1 million added it in 2008 for a total of 2.5 million subscribers out of almost 10 million homes passed. Those additions helped make up for losses in Verizon’s DSL business, which lost 68,000 DSL-based connections in the most recent three-month period after losing 96,000 during the previous quarter.

Verizon’s consumers also continued to drop their landline telephones, but not as rapidly as some had feared. In the fourth quarter, Verizon lost 3 percent of landline subscribers, up slightly from the 2.8 percent loss in the same period last year. In 2008 Verizon lost 12.2 percent of its landlines leaving 20.96 million still connected; it lost 10.8 percent of them in 2007.

The wireless business did well in the most recent quarter, adding 1.2 million customers as compared to 2 million added in the same period last year, and turning in $11.1 billion in service revenue, up 12 percent from the same period in 2007. I’ll go into more detail on how wireless data is faring during the recession tomorrow after AT&T reports its most recent quarterly results.