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Verizon sees subscriber gains, but will further reduce spending in 2024

US operator Verizon gained subs in 2023, though revenues and profit are down – and having dropped its capex in 2023 it intends to do so again this year.

Andrew Wooden

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
Verizon

Full year revenues in 2023 were down by 2.1% to $134 billion, while its operating profit fell around 25% to $22.9 billion, and its net profit declined by 44% to $12.1 billion.

In Q4 2023 it clocked a pre-tax loss from ‘special items’ of approximately $7.8 billion. This was impacted by a ‘previously disclosed goodwill impairment charge’ related to its Business unit of $5.8 billion, a market-to-market adjustment for its pension and Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liabilities of $992 million, asset rationalization charges of $325 million, and a number of other smaller (though of course still in the millions of dollar bracket) items.

On the plus side wireless service revenue was $76.7 billion, up 3.2% on 2022. A particular bright note in it’s full year numbers were fixed wireless network adds, which were up 31% YoY ‘reflecting the increased demand driven by the strength and reliability of the product.’ 

Meanwhile total wireless postpaid net additions jumped 26% in 2023, and in the fourth quarter jumped to 449,000 compared to 217,000 for fourth-quarter 2022.

Verizon's total unsecured debt as of the end of the year was $128.5 billion, a $2.1 billion increase sequentially, but it stipulated this is $2.1 billion lower YoY. 

"After delivering continuous improvement throughout 2023, we ended the year strong and continue to pursue the right balance of growth and profitability," said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. "2023 was a year of change. We have the right assets and the best team in place and are well-positioned for growth in 2024." 

Verizon’s capex in 2023 was $18.8 billion, down from $23.1 billion on 2022. For 2024 it projects this will fall further to between $17 billion and $17.5 billion. So in terms of the wider health of the telecoms equipment market and the personal fortunes of companies like Ericsson and Nokia, that’s not great news – and it’s a trend that the former seems to be bracing itself for.

Alongside its full year numbers this week, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said “In our view, the current investment levels are unsustainably low for many operators. We are therefore confident that a market recovery should materialize.”

If market recovery is read as the ability for kit vendors to sell more equipment to operators, it doesn’t seem like Verizon’s wallet will be presenting them with anything very promising for the next year, at least.

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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins Telecoms.com on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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