Verizon loses fewer phone subscribers than expected in first quarter

Pedestrians walk by a Verizon 5G sign in New York, April 3, 2021.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Verizon Communications lost fewer-than-expected monthly phone subscribers in the first quarter, a sign the wireless carrier is benefiting from its hefty investments in expanding 5G services and new broadband networks.

The company on Friday reported a loss of 36,000 monthly phone subscribers in the quarter, compared with Factset estimates of a loss of 49,300.

Verizon said total revenue rose 2.1% to $33.6 billion for the three-month period, edging past Wall Street’s estimate of $33.54 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Strong demand for high-speed internet to facilitate hybrid work and education has bolstered the bottom line of telecom firms though analysts reckon the torrid growth will start to ease as the pandemic loosens its grip on the world.

Verizon has scooped up customers through plans bundled with more services. It has also seen steady growth in demand for fixed wireless access (FWA), or home broadband delivered through a 5G network, in recent quarters.

Net income, however, fell 12.4% to $4.7 billion in the quarter. Verizon said that included a pre-tax loss from special items of approximately $1.5 billion, including a pre-tax loss of approximately $1.2 billion from early debt redemption costs.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.35 per share.

Verizon updated its full-year guidance to expect wireless service revenue growth at the lower end of the previously guided range of 9% to 10%.

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