Verizon reported fourth-quarter revenue of almost $34 billion, topping analysts’ estimates as it posted its first year-over-year wireless revenue growth in two years. Total revenue for Verizon’s wireless business was $23.8 billion, up 1.7% compared to fourth-quarter 2016. For the full year, wireless revenue was $87.5 billion, down 1.9% year-on-year. For the company as a whole, revenue for the full year was $126 billion, down about 2% excluding divestitures and acquisitions.
The carrier added 1.2 million retail postpaid connections in fourth-quarter 2017. Almost half of those were “other connected devices” (not phones or tablets), and Verizon said wearable devices were the strongest contributor to its growing internet of things business. Revenue from Verizon’s internet of things businesses increased approximately 17% year over year, the company said, and about half of that growth was attributable to acquisitions.
For all of 2017, postpaid net additions were 2.1 million, including 1.8 million smartphones, Verizon’s highest total since 2015. The company said it ended 2017 with 116.3 million total retail connections.
Verizon’s stock price showed little reaction to the company’s earnings report. Although revenue beat expectations, earnings were slightly below projections.
Verizon’s earnings release also discussed the impact of tax reform. The company said tax reform will add $3.5 billion to $4 billion to its cash flow this year, money which it will use to strengthen its balance sheet. Verizon carries a heavy debt load due to its acquisitions of Yahoo, AOL and the part of its own business that was previously owned by Vodafone.
Employees of Verizon are going to “share in the company’s success,” according to today’s release. Verizon employees are well aware of the bonuses paid by AT&T and Comcast to their employees after the tax reform was passed.