Despite losing postpaid phone subscribers in Q1, Verizon tops last year's performance

Despite losing postpaid phone subscribers in Q1, Verizon tops last year's performance
The largest wireless carrier in the U.S., Verizon, released its first-quarter earnings report for 2024 today. During the first three months of the year, the carrier had a net loss of 158,000 wireless retail postpaid phone subscribers in the consumer sector. Not only did that beat Wall Street's expectations, it was a 105,000 subscriber smaller loss than the 263,000 it reported during the same quarter last year. The improvement was due to a nice increase in gross subscriber additions, and lower churn. Gross adds rose 5.3% in the consumer unit year-over-year. The consumer wireless phone churn was .83% in Q1.

Consumer wireless pre-paid net subscriber losses amounted to 214,000 during the first-quarter although the number was only 131,000 after excluding SafeLink Wireless, Verizon's brand for those with access to government-sponsored connectivity benefits. Verizon's first-quarter consumer revenue rose .8% on an annual basis to $25.1 billion. Consumer service revenue was up 3.4% to $16.1 billion. Consumer wireless postpaid average revenue per account (ARPA) is rising thanks to higher pricing and more Fixed Wireless Access business.

On the business side of the coin, Verizon had 90,000 postpaid phone net subscriber additions with a 1.13% churn rate. Verizon Business revenue was $7.4 billion in the first-quarter of 2024, a decrease of 1.6 percent year over year. The unit saw increased service revenue but that was offset by declines in wireless equipment revenue and wireline revenue.

Overall, combining consumer and business segments, Verizon lost a net 68,000 postpaid phone subscribers during the quarter. Postpaid phone churn for both segments came in at .89% and total wireless service revenue amounted to $19.5 billion, a 3.3% year-over-year gain.

Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg, commenting on the report, said, "Our strong results show that our team is delivering. Our performance in the first quarter sets us up for a successful 2024. We are on track to meet our financial guidance and to deliver positive Consumer postpaid phone net adds for the year. Our fixed wireless subscriber base is continuing to grow rapidly, and our network remains the best in the industry, by far."

For the first-quarter of 2024, Verizon reported earnings per share of $1.09, compared with earnings per share of $1.17 for the first-quarter of 2023. Wall Street is not happy with the report and as of Monday afternoon, Verizon's shares are trading at $39, down $1.49 or 3.67%.

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