Verizon ( VZ) met Wall Street's estimates with a fourth-quarter profit. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the New York telco earned $3 billion, or $1.08 a share, reversing the year-ago severance-charge-affected loss of $1.5 billion, or 53 cents a share. Excluding unusual items, latest-quarter earnings rose to 64 cents a share from 58 cents a year earlier, in line with the Thomson First Call analyst estimate. Revenue rose 6% from a year ago to $18.3 billion, as revenue at the company's Verizon Wireless unit jumped 23% to $7.3 billion. Yesterday, Verizon Wireless posted
stronger-than-expected subscriber gains for the fourth quarter. Verizon said nontraditional services such as wireless and Internet access accounted for some 55% of revenue in the latest quarter, up from 49% a year ago. Telcos have been especially focused on building out wireless and broadband services because the local phone business that they are so well known for has been dwindling for years. "In 2004, we changed our growth profile by divesting non-strategic assets, by extending our industry leadership in wireless, and by gaining momentum in broadband, long-distance and Enterprise markets," CEO Ivan Seidenberg said. "Our wireline business has maintained stable margins, and Verizon Information Services and International have continued to contribute significant revenue, income and cash flow." Early Thursday, Verizon rose $1.39 to $37.39.