Verizon income up due to wireless, fiber growth

Verizon posts net income of US$4.2 billion in the third quarter.

Verizon Communications posted net income of US$4.2 billion for the third quarter, up 19 percent from a year ago, driven largely by new wireless and fiber broadband customers, the company said.

The company added 1.6 million wireless customers and 229,000 new Fios fiber-based broadband customers, Verizon said. The company's Verizon Wireless subsidiary now has 63.7 million customers, and Verizon now has 1.3 million Fios broadband customers since launching the service in early 2005.

Verizon reported total revenue of US$23.8 billion, up 5.8 percent from the third quarter of 2006. Verizon's earnings per share, however, fell from $0.53 a year ago to $0.44 this quarter.

Verizon's quarterly results show the company has "hit its stride" in offering wireless, broadband and telecommunication services to large businesses, Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in a statement.

Among the highlights was an all-time high for Verizon wireless on average monthly revenue per customer, Verizon said. The average for retail voice service was US$52.17 per customer, up 1.9 percent over a year ago.

In addition to the customer gains for Fios broadband service, the company also added 202,000 Fios television customers, bringing the total number of Fios TV customers to 717,000. Verizon added 285,000 new broadband connections, including Fios and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line). Verizon now has 8 million broadband connections, up 21.3 percent over last year.

Fios is available to 6.5 million U.S. residences.

But total wireline revenue was down 0.8 percent from last year at US$12.7 billion this quarter.

Independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan said Verizon's Fios push is beginning to pay off. Verizon is headed in the right direction, he said.

"It has taken a long time and cost a lot of money for Verizon to get to where they are today with their television and Internet," Kagan said. "However, now that they are beginning to deliver on the Fios promise, the customers seem to be welcoming the offering."

The now ready telecom-based television services are pumping new life into the telecom carriers, after cable TV companies beat them to the punch by offering voice service before telecoms received regulatory approval to offer TV service, Kagan said.

"All of a sudden that dynamic is shifting," he said. "Suddenly telephone companies like Verizon and AT&T are doing very well as cable television companies are struggling with their sagging stock price."

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