Verizon Wireless(s vz) kicked off the mobile industry’s earnings season with some positive results. It reported 1.1 million new retail connections in the third quarter, 927,000 of which were contract subscribers. In total Verizon now hosts 101.2 million mobile connections.
As has been typical in the last several years, much of that growth was driven by new smartphone sales. It activated 7.6 smartphones, accounting for three-quarters of its total activations. Smartphones now account for 67 percent of all Verizon’s subscriptions. In addition, it brought 6.8 million new LTE phones, tablets and modems to its networks. It now has 36 million LTE connections, about 34 percent of its total retail contract user base.
While only a third of Verizon’s connections are LTE, they’re carrying two-thirds of Verizon’s total data traffic. The company completed its first nationwide 4G network rollout in June, and is in the process of building its second LTE network. We’ve started to see that network appear in the wild in New York City and other major markets. In many areas — particularly in the eastern U.S. — Verizon is building these new networks with double the capacity of its current 4G systems. That will allow it to host many more new connections on LTE and offer faster speeds over each connection.