Wireless service revenue growth and strong results at Verizon Media offset by lower wireless equipment revenue and ongoing declines in legacy wireline products.

January 26, 2021

4 Min Read

NEW YORK – Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) closed 2020 with fourth-quarter results highlighted by increased cash flow, wireless service revenue growth, and the launch of 5G nationwide.

For fourth-quarter 2020, Verizon reported EPS of $1.11, compared with $1.23 in fourth-quarter 2019. On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), fourth-quarter 2020 EPS, excluding special items, was $1.21, compared with adjusted EPS of $1.13 in fourth-quarter 2019.

Fourth-quarter 2020 EPS included a pre-tax loss from special items of about $523 million, which consisted of a net charge of $404 million primarily related to severance, including voluntary separations under existing plans and the annual mark-to-market for pension and OPEB (other post-employment benefits) liabilities, and a net loss of $119 million primarily related to the disposition of the HuffPost business.

In fourth-quarter 2020, Verizon's results also included the continued effects of a reduction in benefit from the adoption of a revenue recognition standard, primarily due to the deferral of commission expense. The net impact was 2 cents in fourth-quarter 2020 and 9 cents for the full year. The company estimates that the net impact from COVID-19 was a 2 cent benefit in fourth-quarter 2020 and a 21 cent headwind for the full year.

For full-year 2020, Verizon reported $4.30 in EPS, compared with $4.65 in full-year 2019. On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), excluding special items, 2020 EPS was $4.90, compared with 2019 EPS of $4.81.

Consolidated results

  • Total consolidated operating revenues in fourth-quarter 2020 were $34.7 billion, down 0.2 percent from fourth-quarter 2019. Total wireless service revenue growth and strong results in Verizon Media were offset by lower wireless equipment revenue and ongoing declines in legacy wireline products. Full-year 2020 consolidated operating revenues were $128.3 billion, down 2.7 percent year over year.

  • Total consolidated operating revenues in fourth-quarter 2020 were $34.7 billion, down 0.2 percent from fourth-quarter 2019. Total wireless service revenue growth and strong results in Verizon Media were offset by lower wireless equipment revenue and ongoing declines in legacy wireline products. Full-year 2020 consolidated operating revenues were $128.3 billion, down 2.7 percent year over year.

  • Cash flow from operations totaled $41.8 billion in 2020, a 16.8 percent increase year over year. This growth was a result of the continued performance and strength of the business, lower tax payments due to a one-time cash tax benefit received earlier in the year, and reductions in working capital primarily due to lower wireless volumes.

Consumer results

  • Total Verizon Consumer revenues were $23.9 billion, a decrease of 1.2 percent year over year, primarily driven by a decline in wireless equipment revenue due to softer volumes in the quarter. For full-year 2020, total Consumer revenues were $88.5 billion, a decrease of 2.8 percent from full-year 2019, driven by a decline in wireless equipment revenue.

  • In fourth-quarter 2020, Consumer reported 357,000 wireless retail postpaid net additions. This consisted of 163,000 phone net additions and 81,000 tablet net losses, offset by 275,000 other connected device net additions. Postpaid smartphone net additions were 284,000.

  • Consumer wireless service revenues were $13.6 billion in fourth-quarter 2020, a 1.2 percent increase year over year. Full-year 2020 Consumer wireless service revenues were $53.6 billion, a 0.3 percent decrease from full-year 2019.

  • Total retail postpaid churn was 0.96 percent in fourth-quarter 2020, and retail postpaid phone churn was 0.76 percent.

  • Consumer reported 92,000 Fios Internet net additions in fourth-quarter 2020, an increase from 35,000 Fios Internet net additions in fourth-quarter 2019. Consumer and Business reported 95,000 total Fios Internet net additions in fourth-quarter 2020, the most fourth-quarter total Fios Internet net additions since 2014. Consumer reported 72,000 Fios Video net losses in fourth-quarter 2020, reflecting the ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings.

Media results

  • Total Verizon Media revenues were $2.3 billion in fourth-quarter 2020, up 11.4 percent year over year, the first quarter of year over year growth since the Yahoo acquisition in 2017. Growth in the quarter was fueled by strong advertising trends with revenue from the demand side platform growing 41 percent year over year.

Outlook and guidance

For 2021, Verizon expects the following:

  • Service and other revenue growth of at least 2 percent, including total wireless service revenue growth of at least 3 percent.

  • Adjusted EPS (non-GAAP) of $5.00 to $5.15.

  • Adjusted effective income tax rate (non-GAAP) in the range of 23 percent to 25 percent.

  • Capital spending to be in the range of $17.5 billion to $18.5 billion, including the further expansion of 5G Ultra Wideband in new and existing markets, the densification of the wireless network to manage future traffic demands, and the continued deployment of the company's fiber infrastructure.

Read the full announcement here.

Verizon

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