NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Verizon ( VZ) reported strong third-quarter earnings Thursday of 77 cents a share on revenue of $30.3 billion. The big takeaway, as usual, was the number of Apple ( AAPL) iPhones activated during the quarter, and it was a lot.

Analyst Walter Piecyk from BTIG noted that Verizon activated 3.89 million iPhones during the quarter, up 25% from last year.

The iPhone continues as Verizon's most popular smartphone, accounting for just slightly more than 50% of contract activations during the quarter. During the quarter, Verizon added 1.1 million net retail connections, including 927,000 net retail postpaid connections, with a postpaid churn of 0.97%.

During the quarter, Apple announced the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which have performed exceptionally well. In the phones' opening weekend, Apple announced it sold more than 9 million new iPhones and raised fiscal fourth-quarter guidance as a result.

We'll get the full iPhone numbers when Apple reports on Oct. 28 after the bell. Analysts are expecting Apple to report earnings of $7.88 a share on revenue of $36.76 billion, according to those surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Shares of Verizon jumped in pre-market trading Thursday, gaining 2.9% to $48.61, while Apple was slightly higher, trading at $501.18.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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