Verizon CES 2013 booth

Hey, look at that, Verizon continues to be a wireless powerhouse.

In its first quarter earnings results today, the company reminded us why it’s good to get in on new technology early. The company’s wireless revenue now accounts for around two-thirds of its total operating revenue — $19.5 billion out of a total of $29.4 billion — mostly due to its strong 4G LTE network.

“Five years ago we committed to 4G LTE as the next generation technology, and we’ve taken all the necessary steps to take advantage of this growth opportunity,” said Fran Shammo, Verizon’s chief financial officer and EVP, during an earnings call today. In particular, he noted that Verizon acquired spectrum, fostered a rich ecosystem of devices, and offered plans that make the most of the new network for customers.

Last quarter Verizon ended up seeing a nearly $2 billion loss due to Hurricane Sandy damage and pension liabilities.

The carrier added 677,000 postpaid customers (those that have contracts), and activated 7.2 million smartphones during the quarter. Of those smartphones, 5.9 million ran on LTE and 4 million were iPhones (half of which were LTE, while the other half was 3G), Shammo revealed during the earnings call.

61 percent of Verizon’s postpaid customers are on smartphones now, up from 58 percent last quarter. The carrier says its LTE network now covers 287 million people across 491 markets (95% of its 3G coverage base).

Photo: Verizon’s CES 2013 booth by Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat