Verizon profits more than double in Q3, thanks to more contract subscribers

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VerizonVerizon had a gangbuster third quarter, with profits more than double last year’s third quarter, the company said today.

While rival AT&T added more new wireless customers in total (2.1 million versus Verizon’s 1.3 million), Verizon landed almost triple the number of more lucrative postpaid customers, who have on-going cellular contracts. AT&T added just 319,000 postpaid customers, compared to Verizon’s 882,000, a 51 percent jump over last year.

Verizon reported profits of $1.38 billion for the quarter, up from $659 million last year, on revenues of $27.9 billion. AT&T’s profits were also up compared to last year (excluding one-time gains during last year’s third quarter). Verizon’s total wireless revenues were up 9.1 percent at $17.7 billion, and the company announced that it now has 4 million total FiOS television service subscribers.

The company said it sold 5.6 million smartphones over the last quarter, more than half of which were Android phones. Among those, 1.4 million were LTE 4G devices.

Verizon sold 2 million iPhone 4 units during the last quarter, compared to AT&T’s 2.7 million. Verizon didn’t disclose how many iPhone 4S units it sold over its launch weekend — the first time the carrier participated in a new iPhone launch. AT&T said it sold 1 million units between the launch on October 14 and last Tuesday. Just like Apple, Verizon also blamed pervasive next-gen iPhone rumors as a reason for reduced iPhone sales last quarter.

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