This excerpt taken from the VZ 10-K filed Feb 26, 2010.
During 2009, we paid $5.3 billion in dividends as compared to $5.0 billion in 2008 and $4.8 billion in 2007. As in prior periods, dividend payments were a significant use of capital resources. The Board of Directors of Verizon determines the appropriateness of the level of our dividend payments on a periodic basis by considering such factors as long-term growth opportunities, internal cash requirements and the expectations of our shareowners. During the third quarter of 2009, the Board increased our quarterly dividend payments 3.3% to $.475 per share from $.460 per share. During the third quarter of 2008 and 2007, the Board increased our dividend payments 7.0% and 6.2%, respectively.