Verizon Takes the Good with the Bad in Q4 Earnings Report

The nation’s largest mobile operator reported on Tuesday that despite a healthy revenue spike of better than 5%, it endured a $4.23 billion loss during the fourth quarter of 2012.

The loss resulted primarily in response to charges from its pension plan, debt-related costs and superstorm Sandy damage.

Verizon also added a highest-ever 2.1 million in new wireless-contract customers in the quarter. As anticipated, however, margins on wireless services fell during the quarter as subsidies paid on all of those smartphones “were a direct hit to profit,” the WSJ observed.

“We knew margins were going to be light, but they were a little lighter than expected,” Jonathan Chaplin of New Street Research, said in response to Verizon’s earnings report today. “What we learned today was that it cost them a little bit more on the expense line than we thought.”

Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo expressed “confidence we can drive top line growth in 2013.” Although Verizon didn’t serve up any guidance for the rest of 2013, Shammo said he’s “more confident in the fundamentals of this business today than I actually was a year ago.”

Verizon’s revenue climbed to $30.05 billion, topping expectations of $29.83 billion.