Verizon Loses Subscribers, Misses on Earnings and Revenue

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By Jacob Maslow

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) were down 2.53% in premarket trade after the wireless carrier posted lower-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter.

The No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier posted $29.814 billion in revenue, missing estimates of $30.487 billion. Earnings per share came in at 95 cents, just missing forecasts of 96 cents per share.

Operating revenue fell from $32.17 billion last year to $29.81 billion.

Verizon’s wireless business generated $20.9 billion in revenue, marking a 5.1 % decline from the same period last year. The carrier attributed the decline to fewer postpaid customers, promotional activity and lower overage revenue.

Verizon is facing stiff competition from rivals T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S). In an attempt to keep up with competitors, the carrier announced in February that for the first time in five years, it would offer an unlimited data plan.

The carrier lost 307,000 retail postpaid subscribers in the first quarter and 289,000 phone losses. Verizon added 35,000 new Fios internet connections, which also missed estimates. It also lost 13,000 Fios video connections in the quarter.

Analysts were expecting net additions of 222,000 postpaid customers.

The company said it completed its acquisition of the fiber assets from XO Communications, which is part of its plan to expand its cell network.

Verizon is also expanding beyond its core wireless business. In February, it was announced that Verizon had agreed to purchase Yahoo Inc.’s (YHOO) core business in a $4.4 billion deal. The acquisition will bring Verizon access to more than one billion users and a score of data that can be used for more targeted advertising.

Verizon said sales for the full-year 2017 would be “fairly consistent” with 2016 figures, but noted that improvements were being made in equipment and wireless service revenue trends.

The company is expecting its 2017 tax rate to fall within the 34-36% range.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon CEO, said earlier in the week that he is open to the discussion of a merger with Comcast (CMCSA), Disney (DIS) or CBS (CBS).

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