This morning, Verizon Wireless announced their earnings for the fourth quarter of 2015, capping off a pretty interesting year for the carrier, with loads of changes. Or as they put it a "transformational year". Verizon announced that they added 1.5 million net retail postpaid customers in the quarter. That brings their total on up to 112.1 million total retail connections. And 106.5 million of that being retail postpaid connections (meaning just over 5 million are prepaid). They also announced 0.96 percent retail postpaid churn, which means that they are bringing in more customers than they are losing. That is a pretty important metric in a competitive wireless industry.
Total revenues for the largest wireless carrier in the US were about $23.7 billion for the quarter. That's a 1.2% increase over the fourth quarter of 2014. While service revenue totals were $17.2 billion, equipment revenues increased to $5.4 billion. Verizon notes that the jump from $4.2 billion in equipment revenues last year, to the $5.4 billion this year is due to more customers buying devices on installment pricing through Verizon Next.
For the entire year, Verizon is reporting 4.5 million new connections on their network (that includes the 1.5 million from the fourth quarter). As well as $91.7 billion in revenues for the quarter. They also mentioned that customer loyalty remained quite high, with the churn rate also being 0.96 percent for the entire year. That's an 8 basis point improvement over the full year 2014. In terms of devices, Verizon says that about 8.4% of their customers upgraded to a new device in the fourth quarter alone. With 73 million smartphones in their customer base by the end of 2015. And in the fourth quarter alone, about 7.6 million phones were activated on payment plans. Currently the carrier has about 25 million device payment phone connections. That represents roughly, 29% of their postpaid phone base. With over 40% of their postpaid phone customers being on unsubsidized pricing.
A decent quarter, and year for Verizon. Nothing too earth shattering, really for big red. They are continuing to add customers and continuing to raise their revenues. It should be enough to keep the investors happy. It'll be interesting to see what happens with Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T's quarterly earnings which will be happening in the next few weeks.