Verizon Q3 solid, adds 603,000 net retail postpaid customers

Verizon's quarter highlights how offering unlimited plans has allowed it to defend its business vs. competitors such as T-Mobile.

Verizon said it added 603,000 net retail postpaid customers as its third quarter results topped expectations.

The company reported third quarter earnings of $37 billion, or 89 cents a share, with non-GAAP earnings of 98 cents a share. Those results were a penny better than Wall Street estimates. Verizon's earnings had a bevy of charges for early debt redemption and integration costs for the Yahoo purchase.

Verizon's revenue for the third quarter was $31.7 billion compared to $30.94 billion a year ago and estimates of $31.43 billion.

While the wireless business is the primary focus, Verizon did note that its media business, now called Oath, had revenue of $2 billion. The integration of AOL and Yahoo "is ahead of internal expectations."

Telematics revenue topped $220 million in the third quarter and organic Internet of things sales were up 13 percent.

However, the biggest takeaway is that Verizon is battling back with its unlimited data plans. Verizon added net phone additions of 274,000. Of the 603,000 postpaid net additions, 91,000 were tablets and wearables accounted for 238,000.


Those unlimited plans are boosting the use of Verizon's LTE network. Verizon said more than 50 percent of Verizon's available low and mid-band spectrum is being used for 4G LTE. 5G trials are continuing with some early results due later in the fourth quarter.

Verizon ended the third quarter with 109.7 million retail postpaid connections and 5.6 million prepaid. Churn was 0.97 percent in the third quarter.

Other odds and ends:

  • Wireline revenue was up 1.1 percent to $7.7 billion.
  • Fios revenue was up 4.8 percent with a boost from pay-per-view events.
  • Verizon added 66,000 Fios Internet connections, but lost 18,000 video customers due to over-the-top services.
  • As for the outlook, Verizon said revenue will be on par with 2016.
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