smartphone hands

Verizon has just filed some federal paperwork claiming a whopping 9.8 million phone activations in the final three months of 2012.

The form in question, a sexy 8-K filed with the SEC yesterday, gives notice of announcements the company expects to make at CES this year.

Among other fascinating regulatory tidbits, we read, “Verizon expects 2.1 million retail postpaid net additions, total smartphone activations of 9.8 million with a higher mix of Apple smartphones, and stronger indirect channel performance in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“This will result in fourth quarter 2012 segment EBITDA service margin to be slightly lower than that of fourth quarter 2011.”

EBITDA stands for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization” and refers to a simple overview of a company’s profits. But Verizon’s slight dip in year-over-year earnings doesn’t quite match up to smartphone sales. In Q4 2011, Verizon launched six new 4G LTE smartphones and moved a total of 7.7 million smartphones in the quarter, 4.2 million of which were iPhones and 2.3 million of which were LTE-supporting smartphones.

For comparison, AT&T announced yesterday that in the same Q4 2012 period, it sold roughly 9.9 million smartphones, an estimated 7.2 million of which were iPhones.

For manufacturer-side comparison, Samsung claims around 64.8 million smartphones sold for the same time frame.

All in all, everyone’s Q4 numbers are a bit rosy due to unprecedented holiday sales figures for smartphones. In an all-time record, during Christmas week 2012 alone, more than 50 million iPhone and Android devices were activated (no Windows Phone numbers). And 17.4 million of these smartphones were turned on on Christmas Day alone.

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