LOS ANGELES – Someday, the full lineup of channels from Verizon’s FiOS TV service may be available on your phone.
That’s the vision outlined Tuesday after telecommunications giant Verizon Communications Inc. announced that it is buying Intel Media, a division of Intel Corp. that’s been preparing to launch a service that streams TV channels over the Internet.
Verizon said the acquisition will help it accelerate the development of a next-generation video service based on Internet protocols and reduce the cost of building its own. Currently, Verizon FiOS video subscribers can stream some live channels over mobile devices, but the selection is limited, and most channels can’t be viewed outside the home.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Verizon said it would offer jobs to most of the 350 people at Intel Media.
The company said that with its pending purchase of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless, which gives it complete control by Feb. 21, it will create a better TV product that works on mobile devices.
On a conference call with investors Tuesday, Francis Shammo, Verizon’s chief financial officer, said the company is positioning itself to compete in “the whole mobile-first world in video.”
Gerard Hallaren, an analyst with Janco Partners Inc., said the acquisition prepares Verizon for the day when all TV signals are delivered via the Web, in what has come to be known as an “over the top” service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Instant Video.
Today, full-pay TV service requires being in the service area of various cable TV or telecoms providers. An “over the top” service would allow Verizon to provide a TV package to customers outside of its service area.
The purchase was announced the same day Verizon reported fourth-quarter net income of $5.07 billion, or $1.76 per share, reversing a loss of $4.23 billion, or $1.48 a year ago, as revenue rose 3 percent to $31.07 billion.
New York-based Verizon said overall service revenue rose 8 percent to $17.7 billion.
The company added 1.7 million net retail wireless connections during the quarter, excluding acquisitions and adjustments. Of that total, 1.6 million were connections that involved monthly service contracts.
As of Dec. 31, Verizon had a total of 102.8 million retail connections, marking a 5 percent increase over the same time a year ago. The 2013 total included 96.8 million connections with monthly contracts.
Shammo said that the company got a big boost from new contracts for tablet service, which totaled 790,000 and marked the largest quarterly total since tablets were first introduced in 2010.
Meanwhile, Verizon’s overall population of retail wireless subscribers increased 4.5 percent to 35.1 million, with each customer having an average of 2.8 connected devices.