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Verizon Posts Loss, But Gains On Wireless Subscribers

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) reported a Q4 net loss of $653 million, compared to a net profit of $1.24 billion a year ago. That works out to 23 cents per share compared to 43 cents per share a year ago. Verizon cited costs from layoffs, more spending to grow its wireless business, and more attrition in its fixed-line business as the main causes for the loss. Job cuts alone – the operator has laid of thousands – cost the company $3 billion, the company said today in an earnings call.

The operator picked up 2.2 million mobile subscribers, beating expectations of 1.5 million, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters. That brings the subscriber base for Verizon Wireless up to 91.2 million. Wireless revenue was $15.7 billion. Stripping out *Alltel*, acquired in 2009, Verizon’s overall sales rose a mere 0.2 percent.

Wireless: The Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Droid was cited in particular as one of the drivers of the operator’s strong revenues in the last quarter, but it was also a cost: Verizon noted that operating margins for wireless were down to 27.3 percent, compared to 29.7 percent a year before. Average revenues per user were also down by 0.6 percent to $50.75.

Wireline: Revenues were down to $11.46 billion, a fall of 3.9 percent. The number of residential lines is now 16.23 million, a decline of more than 10 percent.

The one bright spot in wireline was the company’s FiOS service. The TV service added 153,000 to bring its total to 2.9 million. FiOS Inte Arnet also added 153,000 customers, bringing that total to 3.4 million. Total broadband revenues grew by 25.5 percent over the same quarter last year, to $1.7 billion.