Verizon revenue rises on strong wireless subscriber additions


Verizon Communications Inc, the largest U.S. wireless telecommunications company, reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue on a jump in wireless customers and a surge in tablet sales.

The dramatic increase in customers is a boost for Verizon, which has moved cautiously amid some of the deepest promotions the industry has seen.

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Profit in the second quarter also topped Wall Street estimates.

Net additions of wireless subscribers with contracts surged 53 percent to 1.4 million in the second quarter ended June 30. Verizon also sold a record 1.14 million tablets.

Wireless companies have been weaning customers from plans that subsidize equipment financing over two years, and offering plans that separate service charges from equipment purchases.

Verizon has not been aggressively promoting its installment plans, and said only 18 percent of wireless customers signed up for them.

"We want our customers to have choice. We did not abandon the legacy model when we launched our installment plan as other carriers have," said Fran Shammo, Verizon's chief financial officer.

Still its Mother's Day and Father's Day promotions drew an increase in traffic to legacy handset subsidy plans.

The company has focused on holding on to customers who bring the company more monthly revenue and switching them to products such as smartphones and tablets that generate more revenue.

It said 90 percent of customers who upgraded their phones bought smartphones and nearly 55 percent of its premium contract customers used high-speed connections.

Wireless customer defections, known in the industry as churn, increased slightly from a year ago, but decreased from last quarter.

Verizon's wireline revenue rose for the first time in seven years due to increased adoption of its FiOS internet and television products, as well as the migration of customers from older copper lines, to better performing fiber.

The company said it added 100,000 FiOS video customers and 139,000 net new FiOS Internet connections in the quarter.

Verizon shares were up 0.5 percent at $50.94 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has risen about 3 percent so far this year.

Operating revenue in the second quarter rose 5.7 percent to $31.48 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned 91 cents per share in the quarter.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 90 cents per share on revenue of $31.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Verizon's wireless revenue, which accounts for more than two-third of total revenue, rose 7.5 percent due to strong growth in service revenue.

Average monthly revenue per account rose 4.7 percent to $159.73.