Verizon Wireless is a happy company today, announcing some very positive results for its third quarter earnings.

The carrier saw profits jump up to $1.59 billion in the third quarter over profits of $1.37 billion for the same period last year.

Profits were driven by both service plans and handset sales in nearly equal measure. Service revenue rose 7.5 percent over last year to $16.2 billion while retail revenue saw a 7.9 percent increase to $15.5 billion.

What's more, 6.8 million smartphones were sold during the quarter. Of those, 3.1 million were iPhones while Android handsets accounted for 3.4 million units.

Verizon did not break down smartphone model sales, so it is unknown how many of those 3.1 million iPhone sales were the iPhone 5, which launched during the last week of the quarter.

Data is in high demand

During the third quarter Verizon launched its Share Everything data plan, replacing unlimited plans with shared data that turned out to be quite costly if you are paying on your own.

The shared data plan proved successful, as Verizion added 1.8 million net new customers during the quarter, 1.5 million of which were for long-term contracts.

The shared data plans were also the only way for existing customers to upgrade to the carrier's improved 4G LTE network.

Verizion's 4G LTE network is perhaps the carrier's strongest selling point, reaching more than 250 million customers in 419 markets around the country. Of the 6.8 million smartphones sold, 4.5 million were 4G LTE devices.

"With our 4G LTE network advantage, well-received Share Everything Plans and unmatched product portfolio, Verizon Wireless continues to do an outstanding job of balancing growth and profitability," Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said.

Verizon is riding high at the moment, but with the carrier's lukewarm Windows Phone 8 plans, it will be interesting to see if it can still end the year on a high note for its fourth quarter.

Via CNET, Reuters