Verizon loses fewer phone customers than expected in the first quarter

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

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 heavy investments in rolling out 5G services and new broadband networks.

The company on Friday reported a loss of 36,000 monthly phone subscribers for the quarter, compared to factsset estimates of a loss of 49,300.

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

Strong demand for high-speed internet to facilitate hybrid work and education has bolstered telecom companies’ bottom lines, although analysts expect the rapid growth will slow as the pandemic takes hold of the world.

Verizon has won customers through plans bundled with more services. Demand for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), or home broadband, delivered over a 5G network has also grown steadily in recent quarters.

Net income, however, fell 12.4% to $4.7 billion in the quarter. Verizon said that included a pre-tax loss on special items of about $1.5 billion, including a pre-tax loss of about $1.2 billion on debt prepayment expenses.

Excluding special items, the company earned $1.35 per share.

Verizon updated its full-year guidance and expects wireless service revenue growth at the low end of the previously-expected 9% to 10% range. Verizon loses fewer phone customers than expected in the first quarter

Gary B. Graves

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