Verizon Q1 solid, but wireless business has multiple moving parts ahead of 5G

Verizon grew net connections in the first quarter, but lost phones and tablets and added wearables as well as smartphones.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Verizon reported a solid first quarter with better-than-expected earnings and outlook for 2019.

The company reported first quarter earnings of $1.22 a share, or $1.20 a share on a non-GAAP basis, on revenue of $32.1 billion.

Wall Street was expecting Verizon to report revenue of $32.16 billion with earnings of $1.17 a share.

Verizon said it added 61,000 retail postpaid net additions including 174,000 postpaid smartphone additions with retail postpaid churn of 1.12 percent with churn of 0.84 percent for phones.

CEO Hans Vestberg touted Verizon's 5G rollout as a way of "expanding our high-valued customer relationships."  

Also: Verizon just turned on its 5G network in the US a week ahead of schedule |  CNET: Verizon's 5G network launch was rocky at best, but it has a plan

Verizon noted that its first quarter capital expenditures were $4.3 billion due to the build out of its 5G network and data and video usage on its 4G LTE service.

In the wireless business, Verizon noted a series of moving parts. For instance, Verizon's 61,000 retail postpaid net additions in the first quarter included 44,000 net phone losses, 156,000 net tablet losses offset by a 261,000 net adds due to wearable and connected devices.


Meanwhile, customers are buying higher-priced plans with more connections per account.

Verizon also said it grew its wireline revenue 3.9 percent to $7.3 billion in the first quarter. FioS revenue was up 3.6 percent, but Verizon lost 53,000 FioS video connections and added 52,000 FioS Internet connections.

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Media revenue from Verizon Media Group, which includes Yahoo and AOL, had revenue of $1.8 billion in the first quarter, down 7.2 percent from a year ago.


For 2019, Verizon said it expects adjusted earnings growth in the low single digits, up from flat. Revenue will also grow in the low single digits percentage wise. Capital spending for 2019 will be $17 billion to $18 billion.  

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