Verizon today reports its first quarter 2009 results. Verizon Wireless delivered strong net customer additions and sustained high margins. In the first quarter 2009:
- Wireless retail (non-wholesale) gross customer additions (excluding customers acquired in the Alltel acquisition) were strong, up 32.5 percent over the prior year. On a pro forma basis, retail gross customer additions were up 4.3 percent.
- Verizon Wireless had 86.6 million customers at the end of the quarter, an increase of 28.8 percent year over year. This includes 13.2 million net total customer additions, after conforming adjustments, from the Alltel acquisition. Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless company in the U.S. in terms of total customers and revenues.
- The company also has the most retail customers of any U.S. wireless company and continued to grow its high-quality base, adding 1.3 million net retail customers (excluding customers acquired in the Alltel acquisition) for a total of 84.1 million retail customers.
- Verizon Wireless had industry-leading retail post-paid churn of 1.14 percent; total churn was an industry-leading 1.47 percent.
- Revenues totaled $15.1 billion, up 29.6 percent year over year and up 9.0 percent on a pro forma basis. Service revenues were $13.1 billion, up 28.9 percent year over year and up 10.5 percent on a pro forma basis, with continued growing demand for data services. Data revenue was $3.6 billion in the first quarter 2009, up 56.2 percent, or 36.8 percent on a pro forma basis, from the first quarter 2008.
- Service ARPU (average monthly service revenue per user) decreased 0.3 percent from the similar period a year ago, to $50.74. Total data ARPU grew by 20.8 percent to $14.16. On a pro forma basis, service ARPU increased 1.1 percent, and total data ARPU increased 25.2 percent.
- Wireless operating income margin, adjusted for acquisition-related charges and integration costs, was 28.2 percent, up 30 basis points year over year. Adjusted on the same basis, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin on service revenues (non-GAAP) was 46.0 percent, an increase of 110 basis points year over year and 60 basis points on a pro forma basis.
* At the end of the first quarter 2009, retail customers (postpaid and prepaid) represented 97 percent of the company's base.
* Verizon Wireless continued to lead the industry in cost efficiency. Monthly cash expense per customer (non-GAAP) decreased in the first quarter 2009 to $27.38, from $28.05 in the comparable period in 2008.
* In the first quarter, data revenues were nearly 28.0 percent of all service revenues, up from 23.0 percent in the first quarter 2008.
* Verizon Wireless continued to extend the reach of its broadband network, which is the nation's largest and most reliable 3G (third generation) network, now covering approximately 281 million people.
* In February, Verizon Wireless selected Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent as vendors to supply the infrastructure that will enable the company to become the first wireless company to offer commercial LTE-based service in the U.S., starting in 2010. Field trials are under way.
* In a move that gives consumer and business customers greater value and more control over how they use their plan minutes, the company introduced Friends & Family, which lets customers identify any five or 10 wireless or landline numbers as a calling group. Minutes used when placing or receiving calls to anyone in the Friends & Family calling group will not count against customers' plan minutes.
* During the quarter, Verizon Wireless customers sent or received an average of 1.4 billion text messages each day, totaling more than 127 billion text messages in the first quarter. Customers also sent nearly 2.1 billion picture/video messages and completed 48.6 million music and video downloads during the quarter.