Verizon Wireless plans to pay a $10 billion dividend early next year to its parents, Vodafone Group Plc and Verizon Communications .

Vodafone will receive $4.5 billion, or $1 billion less than the amount the British company's chief financial officer, Andy Halford, had said he expected as recently as June 30.

Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless service, said it would make the payout based on the stake held by each parent company. Vodafone owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, and Verizon Communications owns the rest.

Vodafone has not received a payout from Verizon Wireless since 2005, in large part because Verizon has focused on paying down debt.

Verizon, which controls the wireless unit, had recently signaled that it would be ready to pay a dividend in 2012.

There has also long been speculation that Verizon would try to buy out Vodafone's stake in the venture, although no deal has come to pass.

(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)