For Verizon Communication, the iPhone is the gift that keeps giving. Monthly bills for all those iPhone 4S smartphones that found new homes over the holidays are to be thanked for a boost in first-quarter revenue.
The impact of the iPhone generated the fastest revenue growth in three years for Verizon Wireless, the country's biggest wireless carrier. The average monthly bill was up 3.6% from a year ago to $55.43.
Selling the iPhone is a mixed blessing for carriers. Initially, they bear the cost of the phone, subsidizing them by hundreds of dollars. The expectation is that they'll make the money back over the life of the two-year contract the user is locked into.
The company recently introduced a $30 upgrade fee for its customers upgrading to a new phone. Verizon Wireless gained 501,000 new subscribers under lucrative contract-based plans in the quarter, slightly above expectations.