Verizon Announces Unexpected Growth Levels As Foxconn Sets Sights On Takeover Of iPhone Screen Manufacturer

Telecommunications giant Verizon has reported impressive results for its fourth quarter, results that exceeded analysts expectations. The company added 1.5 million new wireless customers during this period and reported adjusted earnings of 89 cents per share.

The additions increased Verizon’s customer base to 106.5 million postpaid connections, up 4.4 percent over 2014. Verizon’s reported fourth quarter revenue was $34.25 billion, and up 3.2 percent from last year, and Verizon (VZ) shares rose 1 percent in early trading to $45.

Verizon last month began an aggressive promotional campaign to win customers from competing networks with those who switch to a new Verizon 4G LTE device getting up to $650 to use to pay off their existing device and contract.

“Verizon embraced transformational change in 2015, and in 2016 the company has a huge opportunity to drive a new era of growth in our industry,” CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement.

Elsewhere in the sector, FreedomPop announced it had raised $50 million in financing, that it will be using to fuel launch of FreedomPop’s new Global Hotspot and SIM. Global Hotspot combines available cellular networks from all over the world to provide users with a free and seamless data connection.

The service will initially provide free global data to users from the United States and the United Kingdom when they visit a list of 25 countries, which includes the two aforementioned nations, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The $50 million will also be used to fund growth of FreedomPop’s disruptive-free mobile service and international expansion into Asia.

In the Middle East, Virgin Mobile has appointed new CEO Fouad Halawi to lead the company into its next phase of development in the Saudi Kingdom.

“Virgin Mobile is a fantastic brand and I was delighted to be chosen to head up the business in Saudi Arabia. It is a dynamic telecoms market with excellent potential for growth,” said Halawi.

Virgin Mobile recently announced serving over one million subscribers in Saudi Arabia, which was achieved within a year of commercial launch of the operations in October, 2014, and is the fastest growth rate for a mobile operator across the GCC in 2014, a statement said.

Halawi has over 15 years of executive management experience in the telecommunications industry in Europe, Australia, and the United States, where he successfully launched several new MVNO brands such as Lycamobile. Last month, Lycamobile, a new player in U.S. markets, launched a money transfer service called Lycaremit, which allows customers to send money to friends or family in over 50 destinations.

In the far east, Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s iPhones, has made a ¥600 billion bid (about $5.1 billion) to purchase Japanese electronics maker Sharp, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The ¥600 billion bid is the latest in a string of attempts to take over the Japanese company, which received a ¥225 billion (£1.4 billion) bailout from banks last year following what it described as “very severe conditions.”

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Foxconn may receive pushback from the Japanese government, which doesn’t want to lose control of Sharp to a foreign company.

The Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, a government-backed investment fund, is making its own bid of ¥300 billion.

While the INCJ bid would keep Sharp under Japanese control, Foxconn’s higher bid and willingness to take on the company’s debt could see officials side in its favor.

Sharp is largely known for its television sets in the west and smartphones in its home country of Japan. The company also sells LCD panels for a number of other companies for devices like cameras and smartphones.

The display is the most expensive single component in an iPhone, and owning Sharp would give Foxconn the option to not only assemble iPhones for Apple, but also to supply their most expensive part.

[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]