Verizon activates 3.2M iPhones in Q1, unveils shared data plans mid-summer

Verizon Wireless, the nation’s top carrier, announced quarterly earnings this morning, with finance chief Andrew Davies telling Wall Street analysts on a conference call that the company activated 3.2 million iPhones during the first quarter.

The figure accounts for more than half of the 6.3 million smartphones Verizon sold throughout the quarter, echoing a similar ratio in the previous quarter.

Verizon also sold 2.9 million LTE-enabled devices that now account for an impressive 9.1 percent of their wireless user base…

Smartphones now account for 47 percent of all cell phones at Verizon, which mirrors a Nielsen survey pegging the overall U.S. smartphone penetration rate in February at nearly 50 percent.

As for other metrics, Verizon’s total revenues for the quarter were $18.3 billion, an 8.2 percent annual increase. Data revenues were $6.6 billion, up 21.1 percent annually. Data revenues accounted for 42.9 percent of all service revenues, a tell-tale sign that Verizon’s bet on aggressive 4G LTE roll out is about to pay off big time real soon.

Confirming a recent screenshot leak, the wireless operator also announced new data plans due mid-summer this year which will let subscribers share data between devices.

Verizon is at the forefront of 4G LTE roll out in the United States. They recently flipped the LTE switch in San Francisco Bay area and Reno, Nevada and confirmed plans to roll out LTE in dozens of new markets this week.

They also instituted a $30 upgrade fee, due this coming Sunday, applicable to existing customers purchasing new mobile equipment at a discounted price with a two-year contract.

Note that the 3.2 million iPhones the carrier activated during the first quarter is down 1.1 million units from the 4.3 million iPhones they activated during the holiday quarter, which saw Apple sell an astounding 37 million iPhone units.

Analysts project Apple sold between 25 and 44 million iPhones in the first quarter, with the best analysts’ consensus pegged at 35 million iPhone shipments.

Apple is scheduled to report its fiscal 2012 second quarter earnings next Tuesday, April 24. We will be covering the earnings release and a conference call with analysts live, bringing you the latest tidbits as they hit the wires.