Verizon shows strong subscriber growth and profit — but revenue disappoints analysts

Verizon guy with crowdVerizon this morning announced its fourth quarter earnings for 2010 and, for the most part, it looks like the company fared well, with strong wireless subscriber growth and profits doubling those of last year.

But despite the good news, a slight revenue dip disappointed analysts.

Verizon Wireless, the company’s mobile arm, scored 872,000 customers under contract in the quarter. That’s well above the 646,000 analysts projected, according to Reuters. The number is impressive given that many Verizon users were eagerly anticipating the iPhone, which was announced earlier this month. Once the new phone goes on sale next month, it will likely boost both Verizon’s subscription numbers and revenue for the rest of the year. In total, Verizon Wireless now has 94.1 million customers with over 102.2 million total connections (takin  customers with multiple mobile devices into account).

Verizon sold 65,000 mobile broadband dongles since the launch of its LTE 4G network in December, as well as 86,000 tablets (mostly iPads). 96 percent of tablet customers were new to the carrier.

When it comes to wired services, Verizon added 197,000 FiOS internet customers and 182,000 FiOS TV customers. In total, it has over 4.1 million FiOS internet customers and 3.5 million FiOS TV users. The company says that FiOS revenues now account for around 53 percent of total consumer revenues.

The company’s profit doubled from the same time last year — rising from $2.37 billion (22 cents per share) to $4.65 billion (93 cents per share). Earnings per share were 54 cents, disappointing analysts who were expecting 55 cents, Reuters reports. Verizon says that analysts failed to account for a 1-cent-per-share charge from pension accounting changes.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent from a year ago to $26.4 billion, but analysts expected $26.48 billion, according to Reuters. Total data revenues increased by $4 billion to $19.6 billion.

With the addition of the iPhone, and a slew of compelling devices on its LTE 4G network, Verizon will likely make up for its weaker than expected revenue in 2011.