As anticipated, Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ ) dialed up another quarter of strong results -- solid revenue growth coupled with healthy net income and cash flow. Considering the recent volatility of the markets, Verizon's capping a solid year was welcome news, but not impressive enough: Verizon shares dropped slightly following the report.
On a consolidated basis, Verizon brought in $23.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, up 5.5% from the same period last year. Net income also increased -- 3.9% to $1.07 billion. As in previous quarters, Verizon's business continues to be driven by wireless and broadband segments, while traditional wireline telephony services decline. In the full year 2007, Verizon lost 8.1% of its access lines.
Growth in markets for broadband data and television services is making up for this lost business, and Verizon now claims to have 1 million FiOS TV subscribers. Its companion fiber-optic Internet service and other options from partner DIRECTV (NYSE: DTV ) have staved off competing programming alternatives from companies such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) .
While Verizon kept some strong operational trends going, one title was lost to a competitor. For the first time in years, Verizon Wireless -- operated with partner Vodafone (NYSE: VOD ) -- couldn't say it had the most wireless subscriber additions for the quarter. That title now goes to AT&T (NYSE: T ) , thanks to strong sales of the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone during the holidays. Still, Verizon Wireless was able to take advantage of Sprint Nextel's (NYSE: S ) weakness and add 2 million net new wireless subscribers for the quarter. The company still trumps its competitors in low customer turnover, however, and again reported an industry-low 1.2% churn.
While investors might not be buying shares in droves, the company itself is willing to put more cash into its stock. Verizon bought $1.1 billion worth of shares in the quarter, and management noted that at current prices, it will continue to buy the stock. But based on the public's reaction, the market sees Verizon as fairly valued. At this point, I'd agree that Verizon is a great company with a stock that unfortunately doesn't present a similarly great opportunity.
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