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Verizon Profits Up, But Growth Is Slowing

Everybody’s ga-ga over Verizon Communications Inc.’s (VZ) fourth-quarter 2008 earnings thanks to the service provider’s wireless division.

But there are indications growth is slowing – Verizon added a mere 1.4 million new users, compared to 2.1 million in the same period a year earlier.

Still, those numbers were enough to boost Verizon’s profit by 15 percent. Verizon on Tuesday posted net income of $1.24 billion, or 43 cents per share, up from $1.07 billion, or 37 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2007.

Overall, Verizon counted 72.1 million wireless customers – the company boasts 80 million additional users as of the first quarter of 2009, thanks to the close of the Alltel acquisition.

On the FiOS side – Verizon’s TV and high-speed Internet unit – growth was fairly solid. Approximately 300,000 net new users signed up for the TV service, while 282,000 net new subscribers opted for FiOS Internet. According to reports, both of those stats were better than Wall Street had expected.

And there’s a glaring omission in Verizon’s earnings reports: no totals on the number of BlackBerry Storms sold in the fourth quarter. Verizon was hoping the Storm would be its answer to the ever-popular iPhone. Instead, the corporation gave no tallies on the Storm’s success, which indicates adoption is less than good.


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