It was a case of "same story, different day" at Verizon (NYSE:VZ) today. Fourth-quarter earnings increased on the company's strength in its wireless and broadband offerings. Most investors likely find that much less than surprising, especially given past experiences -- though it may give some reason for concern when mulling the competitive landscape.

Fourth-quarter earnings increased to $3.04 billion, or $1.08 per share. Excluding special items, earnings were $0.64 per share, which met expectations. Revenues increased 6.2% to $18.3 billion. For the entire year, Verizon reported earnings of $2.79 per share, or $2.51 per share before special items, with revenues up 5.7% to $71.3 billion.

That wireless focus included 1.7 million net customer additions in the fourth quarter, up 13.5% from the same period last year, with a 22.7% increase in revenues and a record low in customer churn, at 1.43%. Broadband revenues increased 9.2%, and full-year broadband subscribers increased 53.5%.

Although Verizon has plenty of free cash flow, that figure decreased by 21% to $10.6 billion, which the company linked to separation payments and the inevitable increased capital investments that go hand in hand with its current initiatives as it faces off its rivals.

Speaking of which, while Verizon is definitely focusing on the right drivers for its business, it's no secret that it faces a changing industry and plenty of competition. In wireless, two serious examples of industry consolidation recently came into focus -- the joining of Sprint (NYSE:FON) and Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL) looms on the horizon, as well as a marriage between Cingular and AT&T Wireless.

Meanwhile, today rumors flew that Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick SBC Communications (NYSE:SBC) might snap up archrival AT&T (NYSE:T). While it's currently just a rumor, it just goes to underline the continued turbulence and trend toward consolidation in the telecom industry.

Of course, cable companies' forays into telecom have not gone unnoticed, either. Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) getting into VoIP, and meanwhile, there's been talk of the idea that cable could even be giving the cellular segment the come-hither eye.

There may very well be an argument for buying up Verizon as one of the most capable of the telecom companies and therefore the most likely to endure. However, there's still that competitive outlook that may give some investors pause -- one might hardly blame anyone for giving serious questioning to Verizon's horizon.

If you'd like to talk to other Fools about Verizon's horizon, check out our Verizon discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.