Verizon quarterly subscriber additions jump; shares up

Markets Reuters

(Reuters)

Verizon Communications Inc (VZ) on Thursday reported quarterly revenue that topped expectations as the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier attracted more subscribers with its unlimited data plan.

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Shares jumped 3.5 percent to $45.95 in premarket trading.

In the quarter, Verizon added 614,000 subscribers who pay a monthly bill, the industry's most valuable customers. The additions were higher than JPMorgan estimates of 115,000 and consensus expectations of 70,000, JPMorgan analysts said in a research note on Thursday.

Verizon has been competing for customers with smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp in a saturated market for wireless service in the United States as most consumers already have cell phones.

In February, Verizon reintroduced an unlimited data plan for the first time in more than five years. Since then, other carriers have launched increasingly aggressive promotions. Sprint said in June that it was offering free unlimited data, talk and text for a year to consumers who bring their own devices in a promotion aimed at Verizon subscribers.

Net income attributable to Verizon rose to $4.36 billion, or $1.07 per share, in the second quarter, from $702 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Excluding items, earnings were 96 cents per share.

Total operating revenue edged up to $30.55 billion from $30.53 billion a year earlier.

Analysts expected adjusted earnings per share of 96 cents on revenue of $29.91 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The latest quarter included a gain from the sale of data centers and lower expenses. Earnings in the year-earlier period were also hurt by a strike in the wireline business.

(By Anjali Athavaley; Additional reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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