Verizon’s accomplishments in wireless performance, 5G growth, and next-generation networking services have laid the foundation for growth in 2022, CEO Hans Vestberg said Tuesday.
“2021 was a transformative year for Verizon and it’s positioning 2022 to be our best year yet,” Vestberg told investors during the carrier’s fiscal fourth-quarter 2021 conference call.
The carrier’s extensive network is powering both its consumer and Business segments and Verizon executives say its mobile compute and 5G assets are serving as catalysts for growth for consumers and business users.
Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon is now covering 95 million people in the U.S. with its 5G ultra Wideband network and more than 34 percent of its customer base is already on a 5G-capable device. The carrier earlier this month launched new 5G services in select areas on its recently-acquired C-Band spectrum, which Verizon bought in a FCC auction last year.
Total operating revenue for Verizon Business, which includes the company’s Global Enterprise Solutions, SMB, public sector and wholesale businesses, slipped 3 percent with revenues of $7.81 billion during the Q4 2021 compared with $8.05 billion in the year-ago quarter.
Global Enterprise Solutions revenue, which has felt the brunt of the financial fallout from the pandemic, continued its decline by 2.5 percent to $2.53 billion in revenue in fourth-quarter 2020 compared with $2.60 billion a year ago, which the carrier attributed to demand in wireless products offset by wireline revenues, which continue to be challenged, said Matt Ellis, Verizon’s executive vice president and CFO. For full-year 2021, total Verizon Business revenues were $31.04 billion, an increase of 0.3 percent from full-year 2020.
Verizon Business reported 391,000 wireless retail postpaid net additions in fourth-quarter 2021, including 222,000 phone net additions. This marked the carrier’s best quarterly phone net addition performance for Business since the onset of the pandemic and the fourth consecutive quarter of wireless service revenue growth for Global Enterprise.
Business wireless sales climbed 4.8 percent for the full year to $12.37 billion and saw a 1.5 percent year over year boost to $3.12 billion in Q4 2021 compared to $3.07 billion in Q4 2020. Ellis said that Business wireless growth was driven by SMBs.
“We exited the year with demand for our wireless products. We the recent launch our C-Band spectrum, we’re in an even better position to serve the 5G needs of our business customers throughout 2022,” he said.
SMB revenue grew 4.3 percent during the quarter to $3.11 billion from $2.99 billion in the year-ago period. The segment grew 5.8 percent overall for the full 2021 year.
Public Sector saw double-digit declines of 12.1 percent to $1.52 billion during the quarter compared with $1.73 billion last year. Wholesale revenue also continued to decline, falling 12.5 percent to $651 million from $744 million during the last quarter of 2021. Verizon expects pressures in Public Sector and Wholesale to “moderate” in 2022, Ellis said.
Verizon said it saw strong interest from enterprises for private wireless and mobile edge compute in 2021. The Basking Ridge, N.J-based carrier in 2020 partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to combine its 5G Edge mobile compute platform with AWS’ compute and storage capabilities. Vestberg called Verizon “a leader” in public and private mobile edge computing thanks to its partnerships in this space with AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
“You’re going to see us gaining and winning a lot of business in 2022 because we are the only ones in the market in mobile edge compute,” Vestberg said.
For the fourth quarter of the year, which ended Dec. 31, Verizon reported operating revenue of $34.07 billion, down 1.9 percent from $34.70 billion a year ago. The carrier’s net income stayed relatively flat in the quarter at $4.73 billion compared to $4.72 billion during the same period last year. Verizon reported diluted earnings per share of $1.11 in Q2 2021 with no change from fourth-quarter 2020.
For the full 2021 year, Verizon posted total operating revenues of $133.61 billion, up 4.1 percent from $128.29 billion in 2020. the carrier reported diluted earnings per share of $5.32 compared to $4.30 diluted earnings per share in 2020.
Verizon on Sept. 1 closed on the sale of its struggling Verizon Media business unit, which includes its AOL and Yahoo assets, for $5 billion to private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The sale is helping to free up the carrier to focus on core telecom services and future wireless investments, the carrier said. Verizon also closed its $6 billion acquisition of TracFone Wireless at the end of November in a deal that’s already boosting its leadership in the value wireless segment, Vestberg said. Revenues for TracFone flows through the company’s Consumer group.