Everything that could go right did go right for Verizon (VZ) in the most recent quarter.
Not only did the New York-based company add a better-than-expected 1.6 million customers, but it also made more money from its users, as the average bill surged more than seven percent. Verizon's Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) -- a favorite metric of Wall Street -- rose more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter to $117.08.
During the fourth quarter, Verizon also added 126,000 FioS Internet connections, a gain of 11.9 percent, and continued to grow its FioS video service.
Overall, the second-largest telecom company reported net income of $5.07 billion, or $1.77 per share, reversing last year's losses. Revenue rose 3.4 percent to $31.1 billion. Excluding one-time costs, profit was 66 cents, a penny better than Wall Street expectations. Sales also surpassed analysts estimates.
“Verizon’s numbers are stunningly good,” Gerard Hallaren, an analyst with Janco Partners, told Bloomberg News.
The results, though, were not good enough for Wall Street, which sent Verizon shares down in mid-afternoon trading. Perhaps, Wall Street is concerned about a slowdown in the growth of FioS and a decline in smartphone activations.
Verizon, which will gain control over Verizon Wireless after its $130 billion deal with Vodafone (VOD) closes in February, is benefiting from the growing rivalry between AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS), the fourth-largest wireless player. Analysts have noted that switching between AT&T and T-Mobile is simple because the companies use similar technologies.
More changes are coming to the wireless sector. Media reports have indicated that Japan's SoftBank wants to buy T-Mobile to merge it with Sprint (S), the third largest company, which it gained control of last year.