The two largest telecom operators in the United States posted their quarterly results for the fourth quarter of 2011. Both AT&T and Verizon posted quarterly losses in the fourth quarter, in part due to noncash pension-related charges as well as heavily subsidized smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone. AT&T posted a rather large loss due to its failed acquisition of T-Mobile USA . Both carriers posted subscriber growth above expectations.
AT&T Inc  (Dallas, Texas, USA) posted a quarterly loss of $6.68 billion, or $1.12 per share, compared to the year-ago profit of $1.09 billion, or 18 cents per share. The quarterly loss had to do with the telecom operator’s $4 billion break-up fee to T-Mobile USA , as well as heavy smartphone subsidies and a large noncash pension related charge.
AT&T posted quarterly revenue of $32.5 billion, up 3.6 % from $31.36 billion, and higher than Wall Street expectations for $31.97 billion. The telecom operator added 717,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, beating expectations of 570,000 from seven analysts, according to Reuters . This brings AT&T’s total wireless subscriber base to 103.2 million
AT&T's wireless service margin based on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped to 28.7% from 43.7% in the third quarter and 37.6% a year earlier.
The telecom operator sold 9.4 million smartphones this quarter, 7.6 million of which were iPhones .
(Editing by Maureen Bavdek - Reuters )
Verizon Communications  (New York) posted a quarterly loss of $2 billion, or 71 cents per share, compared to net income of $2.64 billion, or 93 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. According to Verizon, the quarterly loss was due to noncash pension items.
Verizon Communications posted quarterly revenue of $28.4 billion, up 7.7% from $26.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Verizon’s revenue for all of 2011 totaled $110.9 billion, a 4.0% increase compared with 2010, where results included revenues from operations that have since been divested. On a comparable basis (non-GAAP), Verizon's 2011 full-year revenues increased 6.2% compared with 2010.
The telecom operator recorded 52 cents per share in adjusted EPS (non-GAAP), which excludes $1.23 per share in non-operational items, compared with 54 cents in adjusted EPS in 4Q 2010.
Its wireless business posted 4Q revenue of $18.3 billion, up 13% year over year. Data revenue was $6.3 billion this quarter, up 19%. Verizon added 1.5 million wireless subscribers this quarter, bringing the overall total subscriber count to 108.7 million.
Verizon sold 7.7 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, 4.2 million of which were iPhones .