Verizon up, TeliaSonera, America Movil down

This week US operator Verizon reported a net profit of $1.95bn for the first quarter of 2013, a 16 per cent year on year increase compared with the $1.69bn generated in 1Q12. The firm’s first-quarter revenues hit $29.4bn, marking a 4.2 per cent increase on 1Q12.

The operator said earlier this year that following the introduction of its shared data plans it would switch from using average revenue per user (ARPU) to average revenue per account (ARPA) as an indicator. This increased by 6.9 per cent year on year to $150.27 per month, the firm said.

At the end of the first quarter, smartphones accounted for more than 61 per cent of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 58 per cent at the end of fourth-quarter 2012.

“Verizon is off to an excellent start in 2013,” said Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. “Our strategic investments in wireless, wireline and global networks have given us the platforms to sustain momentum and take advantage of growth opportunities in key markets for broadband, video and cloud services.  With ongoing improvements in operating efficiency, we expect continued growth in free cash flow and earnings as we move through the year.”

Verizon Wireless, the firm’s division that is 45 per cent owned by Vodafone, also saw total revenues rise 6.8 per cent year on year to $19.5bn.

The news was not so promising from Sweden’s TeliaSonera, which saw revenue fall by 4.5 per cent year on year to SEK24.5bn ($3.75bn) for 1Q13. Net profit dropped more modestly, by 0.3 per cent to SEK4.1bn. Over the period, the Swedish operator group also saw its customer base shrink by 800,000 customers.

“Our industry continues to go through a period of change where traditional business models are being challenged by new customer behaviour,” said acting president and CEO Per-Arne Blomquist.

Blomquist also warned that the group would have to take cost-cutting measures to get it back on track.

“In order to maintain our ability to invest in future growth, it is essential to manage our cost base in a prudent way. We have continued to put significant emphasis on implementing the efficiency measures initiated at the end of last year. There were effects within Mobility Services already in the quarter, while within Broadband Services they will come in the latter part of the year. We remain determined to bring total costs down by SEK2bn net over a two year period.”

And Mexico-headquartered América Móvil saw its net income fall by 17.4 per cent year on year to 26.87bn pesos ($2.34bn). First quarter revenues stood at 193bn pesos, which were up just 0.2 per cent higher than those of the prior year in Mexican peso terms, and 6.1 per cent up at constant exchange rates, according to the firm.

The group finished March with 328.2 million customers, a 7.4 per cent year on year increase. Of that number, 262.9 million customers were wireless subscribers, 30.3 million landline customers, 17.8 million broadband users and 17.2 million PayTV subscribers.

The firm’s mobile subscriber base rose 6.9 per cent year-on-year, most notably in Brazil, where 1.1 million subscribers joined the firm and in Mexico where it saw 854,000 new subscribers. In the US, its Tracfone MVNO also gained 839,000, twice as many as the firm gained last year in the country.

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