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Verizon posts 4th-qtr net income of $5.07B, beats predictions, as subscriber ranks grow

FILE - In this Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, a pedestrian uses her cell phone as she passes a Verizon Wireless store on Broadway in Lower Manhattan, in New York. Verizon Communications Inc. reports quarterly financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

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FILE - In this Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, a pedestrian uses her cell phone as she passes a Verizon Wireless store on Broadway in Lower Manhattan, in New York. Verizon Communications Inc. reports quarterly financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Verizon posted fourth-quarter net income of $5.07 billion, boosted by continued growth in the number of phones and tablets connected to its network.

The largest U.S. cellphone carrier reported increases in both the number connected devices and its wireless subscriber population. Its results reported Tuesday beat Wall Street predictions.

New York-based Verizon said overall service revenue rose 8 per cent to $17.7 billion.

The company added 1.7 million net retail wireless connections during the quarter, excluding acquisitions and adjustments. Of that total, 1.6 million were connections that involved monthly service contracts.

As of Dec. 31, Verizon had a total of 102.8 million retail connections, marking a 5 per cent increase over the same time a year ago. The 2013 total included 96.8 million connections with monthly contracts.

Francis Shammo, Verizon's executive vice-president and CFO, said on a conference call with investors that the company got a big boost from new contracts for tablet service, which totalled 790,000 and marked the largest quarterly total since tablets were first introduced in 2010.

Meanwhile, Verizon's overall population of retail wireless subscribers increased 4.5 per cent to 35.1 million, with each customer having an average of 2.8 connected devices.

The company's wireline division, which provides landlines along with the company's FIOS internet and TV services, also saw growth. Consumer revenues at that division rose 6 per cent to $3.8 billion, as FIOS-related consumer revenue jumped 15 per cent to nearly $2.8 billion.

Shammo also said on Tuesday's call that Verizon expects its $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone Group PLC's 45 per cent stake in its wireless division to close on Feb. 21. Once that happens, Verizon will no longer have to share its wireless revenue with the British cellphone company.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Verizon's profit amounted to $1.76 per share. The company lost $4.23 billion, or $1.48 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 66 cents per share.

Revenue rose 3 per cent to $31.07 billion from $30.05 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 62 cents per share on $31.04 billion in revenue.

For the full year 2013, Verizon earned $11.5 billion, or $4.01 per share, compared with $875 million, or 31 cents per share, in 2012. Revenue rose to $120.55 billion from $115.85 billion.

Also on Tuesday, Verizon said it reached a deal to buy chipmaker Intel Corp.'s cloud TV products and services business. Financial terms were not disclosed. Verizon said the acquisition will help speed the delivery of new kinds of video services to its customers.

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. fell $1.31, or 2.7 per cent, to $47.04 in midday trading.

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Bree Fowler can be reached at http://twitter.com/APBreeFowler

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