Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) announced its earnings today for the first three months of the year. The firm showed an earnings per share of $0.59 on revenue of $28.2 billion. In the same quarter last year the firm had lower earnings of $0.51 per share. Revenues in the same period were $26.99 billion. The company

In the fourth quarter of last year the company reported losses of $2.02 billion.  In the previous three quarters of the year the company was profitable. It earned $1.44 billion, 1.68 billion and $1.38 billion in the first three quarters of the year in order. The fourth quarter loss was down to a change in pension plans at the company without that move the company would have earned $0.52 billion. That quarter also had the company announcing a huge year on year gain in revenue which mitigated the pang felt by investors from the loss.

Analysts expected a relatively solid performance from the company before this morning’s announcement. Their projections put earnings per share at $0.57 with revenues of $28.19 billion. The first quarter of the new year offers service providers a chance to recover from losses felt after the huge sales in the wake of a highly successful iPhone launch. Carriers subsidized the device heavily though at least one analyst thinks that situation may change quickly, possibly in the coming year.

It is a tough time for cell phone carriers in the United States as they take losses selling phones and take huge hits in capital spending from network upgrades. New technologies on the handset side are demanding that companies upgrade their networks to 4G LTE as soon as possible. Verizon and AT&T, thetwo largest carriers in the United States, have both made big steps in upgrading to the improved wireless technology while Sprint, bereft of its Lightsquared partner remains vulnerable on that front.

The United States cell phone market is completely saturated user wise and the massive competition that has resulted centers on two aspects, service provision and price. Sprint is the only national network that still offers unlimited data over its network as the larger carriers found it too expensive to continue. Taking huge losses on hardware isn’t helping the carrier’s prospects. The carrier market is constantly evolving and is one to keep an eye on going forward as wireless data becomes indispensible in daily life.

Verizon will open at 37.66 today slightly down after a poor Wednesday across the market.