Growth in its wireless and broadband divisions pushed first-quarter revenue higher at Verizon Communications Inc., although earnings declined from a year ago because of asset divestitures and merger costs.
Revenue for the quarter climbed 6.4 percent to $US22.6 billion for the quarter, Verizon announced Monday. Adjusted earnings were $US1.6 billion, or $US0.56 per share, down from $US0.60 per share in the first quarter of 2006.
The adjustments included a reduction of $US0.05 per share from a tender offer related to Venezuela's nationalization of its telecom services, Verizon said. It also incurred costs related to last year's merger with MCI.
The company added 1.7 million wireless customers in the quarter for a total of 60.7 million, up 14.5 percent from a year ago. That includes 58.5 million retail customers, which is more than any other U.S. carrier, according to Verizon. Revenue from the wireless group was $US10.3 billion, an increase of 17 percent from last year.
In its fixed-line group, broadband connections increased 416,000 to 7.4 million, up 30.1 percent from a year earlier. Verizon now has 348,000 customers for its FiOS digital TV service and close to 1 million video customers in total, including its satellite TV service.
Revenue from Verizon Business, which serves large businesses and governments, increased 2.3 percent to $US5.2 billion. That helped to offset a decline in its consumer fixed-line business, where revenue fell 3.5 percent to $US4.2 billion, the company said.
Verizon needs to offer complete packages of services to compete with cable TV companies on the consumer side, which have been taking customers, and AT&T on the business side, said independent telecoms analyst Jeff Kagan.
"Verizon's performance looks very strong," he said in a research note Monday morning. "They are actively and aggressively transforming the company from a local phone company to a full service provider of local and long distance telephone, wireless, internet and television."