Verizon to cut 13,000 fixed line workers

US carrier Verizon Communications announced plans to cut a further 13,000 fixed line staff this year, as operating income for the fourth quarter of 2009 dropped 11.5 per cent year on year.

Operating income for the fourth quarter hit $4.6bn, compared to $5.2bn in the fourth quarter of 2008. Operating revenues for the same period were flat year on year at $27bn.

The weakness was in the wireline division, which recorded a 59 per cent year on year drop in operating income during the fourth quarter, as the total number of access lines fell ten per cent year on year to 32.56 million. There was some good news in the broadband sector though where connections totalled 9.2 million at the end of the fourth quarter, a 6.3 per cent year on year increase as FiOS internet connections offset a decrease in DSL connections.

Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said the fourth quarter earnings reflect costs to re-size and simplify the wireline business. “We reduced our wireline related force by 13,000 people or about 9 per cent in 2009. About 5,000 of these employees came off the payroll late in the fourth quarter, and we expect a similar level of annual force reductions in 2010,” he said.

The wireless division added 2.2 million net subscribers, taking the customer base to over 91.2 million, up 26.6 per cent from year-end 2008, while operating income for the quarter hit $4.3bn, down from $4.4bn in the previous year. Data revenues jumped from $3.4bn to $4.3bn in the fourth quarter of 2008, while total ARPU remained almost flat year on year around the $50 mark.

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