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Verizon Catches And Keeps Wireless Subscribers In Q3 As Verizon Business Markets Revenue Climbs

Telecom giant Verizon continued to add and retain wireless subscribers during the third quarter. Revenue increased across Partner Solutions, Verizon Business Markets and its developing Telematics business segment.

Verizon took to its third-quarter 2017 earnings call to highlight its ability to add and retain wireless customers in the ultra-competitive wireless market.

In addition to the success that the Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier had on the cellular side during its third quarter, Verizon drove home its focus on fiber-based products.

"You should expect us to continue to be deploying fiber around the country to service both wireless and customers across the rest of our business as we get into IoT applications," said Matt Ellis, Verizon executive vice president and CFO, during the carrier's third-quarter earnings call Thursday.

[Related: Sources: Verizon Tightens Channel Management Team Following XO Integration ]

Verizon added 274,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill on a net basis during the thrid quarter. Churn, or the rate of customer defections for all customers paying a monthly bill, was 0.97 percent.

Overall in the wireless space, Verizon had 603,000 retail postpaid net additions for the quarter, which includes 486,000 postpaid smartphone net adds.

Despite customer wins, wireless revenue dipped 2.4 percent to $21.58 billion during the third quarter from $22.10 billion in third-quarter 2016.

Verizon in February launched its unlimited data plans in response to competing plans from wireless rivals T-Mobile and Sprint. According to Verizon, its unlimited plans have since increased network usage of 4G LTE, which now occupies more than 50 percent of its available low- and mid-band spectrum.

Ellis briefly addressed speculation around the potential merging of Sprint and T-Mobile during the call by assuring analysts and investors that Verizon has "the right set of assets," regardless of the choices that competing carriers may make.

Verizon's wireline division, which includes its Enterprise Solutions, Partner Solutions, Business Markets segment and XO Communications operations, climbed a modest 1.1 percent to $7.66 billion during third-quarter 2017, up from $7.58 billion in the year-ago period.

Revenue for Verizon Business Markets climbed 8.3 percent during the quarter, reaching $903 million in revenue, up from $834 million in third-quarter 2016.

Partner Solutions revenue, meanwhile, increased 2.1 percent during the third quarter to $1.24 billion, up from $1.22 billion in third-quarter 2016. Enterprise Solutions revenue, however, experienced a 0.5 decline, falling slightly to $2.26 billion compared with $2.27 billion in the same year-ago period.

Verizon's Telematics revenue continued to climb during the third quarter and its revenue was up 13 percent year over year to more than $220 million, according to the company. Verizon also said that its new media business called Oath, the combination of its AOL and newly acquired Yahoo assets, generated $2 billion in revenue for the third quarter.

The carrier reported adjusted earnings per share of 98 cents on $31.72 billion in revenue, a 2.5 percent bump up from adjusted earnings per share of $1.01 and $30.94 billion during third-quarter 2016.

For the quarter ended on Sept. 30, net income declined by 0.3 percent to $3.74 billion compared with $3.75 billion during the year-ago period.

The carrier beat Wall Street's expectations of $31.45 billion in revenue for the quarter. Verizon also added more phone customers -- 486,000 smartphones -- than Wall Street's forecast increase of 438,000 retail postpaid connections.

Verizon said that its latest earnings were negatively impacted by 1 cent per share as a result of the hurricanes in Florida and Texas in September. Verizon has been able to maintain its services within the areas that are still being impacted by fires in Northern California, according to the carrier. Verizon also said that it provided assistance to government officials and local carriers in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria at the end of September.

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