Verizon Reports 5% Earnings Growth

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Verizon Communications said yesterday that its first-quarter earnings rose 5 percent, largely due to continued growth in its wireless business.

Revenue in the quarter rose 12 percent, to $26.59 billion, as the firm added 1.3 million new wireless subscribers, who analysts said came from smaller competitors like Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile.

Verizon's results largely track with those of AT&T, which announced earnings last week. Both firms have been buoyed by growth in their cellphone businesses, while their traditional phone and DSL businesses declined. Verizon's wireline business dropped 13 percent, as companies around the world held back on purchases of new telecommunications equipment and service, the company said.

AT&T has benefited from its exclusive deal to provide service for Apple's iPhone, and many analysts and telecommunications businesses have speculated that Verizon may strike a similar deal with Apple.

In a conference call with analysts, Verizon President Denny Strigl was asked about a possible deal with Apple to create an iPhone for his company's network.

He said that the company had "no announcements to make relative to Apple," and that firm isn't dependent on one device for its growth in wireless subscriptions.

"We believe we have a strong lineup with more phones to come," Strigl said.

Despite the housing crisis, Verizon reported growth year to year in its FiOS fiber network's video and Internet services, which had grown largely with the boom of the housing market. The number of FiOS video customers increased by 299,000, to 2.2 million, and FiOS Internet subscribers rose 298,000, to 2.8 million.

Shares of Verizon fell 46 cents yesterday, to close at $30.54.

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