iphone5-backVerizon reported its fourth quarter 2012 results this morning, and while the company lost $1.93 billion, it grew by a record 2.1 million subscribers. And it sold a whack-load of iPhones — over six million, in fact.

“In the fourth quarter, we activated 9.8 million smartphones, which was by far our highest total ever,” Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo said in today’s earnings call. “About 65 percent of these smartphones were 4G LTE, and in terms of Apple iPhones, we activated about 6.2 million in the quarter.”

Those are big numbers, but the even bigger implication is what this means for Apple’s iPhone market share in the key U.S. market. iPhone 5 pushed Apple to its highest market share ever soon after being launched, and the momentum continued in the final months of the year as Apple claimed more than 50 percent of the smartphone market for the first time ever.

Verizon devices/4G LTE coverage

Above: Verizon devices/4G LTE coverage

Image Credit: Verizon

Now Verizon’s iPhone numbers show an even bigger share for Apple, at 63 percent. In just two days, AT&T will reveal its numbers, which will help form a very clear picture of iPhone/Android market share.

Shammo added that Android phones made up a majority of the remaining 3.6 million smartphones Verizon sold, which will surprise no one. Over 95 percent of them were 4G LTE.

With all those iPhone and Android sales, Verizon now has a 58% smartphone penetration rate: Almost six in 10 of its customers are smartphone users. That compares to something in the neighborhood of 40 percent a year ago and is pretty much in lockstep with the U.S. market as a whole, which tipped over 50 percent smartphone penetration early last year.

Image credit: John Koetsier