Verizon loses key customers for first time

Posted April 21, 2017

Notably, Verizon reported a net loss of 307,000 retail postpaid connections - those that pay for service on a monthly contract - including 289,000 phone losses.

Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N on Thursday reported its first-ever quarterly loss of subscribers, even as it offered an unlimited data plan, raising questions on whether the No. 1 USA wireless carrier may need a larger acquisition than Yahoo to diversify its business. With the new Verizon Unlimited 4G LTE data plan, however, those limits were lifted. Last year, T-Mobile gained 3.3 million post-paid phone customers, while Sprint gained 910,000. Customer defections among wireless retail customers who pay bills on a monthly basis rose to 1.15% of total wireless subscribers, which was lower than estimates of 1.03%.

Verizon reported its first quarter earnings report today.

The move into unlimited data marked an about-face for Verizon, which steadfastly has refused to offer unlimited data plans for fear of obliterating the bottom line, choosing instead to focus on network quality for the highest-paying customers. From carry-over data to unlimited, Verizon just didn't think they'd have to adapt. Organically, IoT revenues, which include telematics, increased approximately 17 percent year over year. Since Verizon Unlimited was first offered to consumers, the carrier has added 109,000 postpaid subscribers. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research called for earnings of 98 cents per share.

In the meantime, Verizon is trying to retain as many customers as it can by allowing them to stream video and use apps on their phones without worrying about exceeding a cap on data use.

Capital expenditures totalled $3.1 billion in first-quarter 2017, as Verizon carried on spending on its network. Verizon is also lagging key rival AT&T (T, Tech30) - although Ma Bell's shares are down 5% in 2017.

Industry analysts have questioned whether the company will pursue a more transformative deal as its main competitor AT&T seeks to diversify its business through a planned acquisition of Time Warner. Shares of Verizon dropped 1.2% in the midday trading Thursday.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $29.81 billion, missing analyst expectations of $30.5 billion, according to Zacks.

On Thursday, the company predicted its full-year 2017 sales to be "fairly consistent" with those in 2016, with improvements being made in wireless service revenue and equipment revenue trends. Chief Financial Officer Matthew Ellis says the company will consider deals that are in the interest of shareholders.

Payment processing giant Visa said its profit dropped 75 percent in the fiscal second quarter from a year ago, largely due to the costs of integrating its recently acquired Visa Europe into the larger company.

For its Fios service, which delivers internet and TV to people's homes, Verizon added 35,000 internet subscribers, lost 13,000 cable subscribers and lost 8,000 voice subscribers.