Fewer subscribers defected to rival carriers. Verizon's quarterly profit fell but breezed past analysts estimates. Fred Katayama reports.
Verizon Communications managed to add a lot of wireless subscribers in the latest quarter. The U.S.' largest wireless carrier gained 565,000 subscribers, relying increasingly on tablet sales to boost growth. It managed to lower the rate of customers defecting to rival carriers amid fierce price competition. But the subscriber gain was less than analysts had expected. As the mobile market matures, Verizon has been looking to other areas such as video for growth. It added 90,000 subscribers to its FiOS service in the quarter. Just last week, the company took a big step toward offering a la carte pay TV. It's allowing customers to pick themed bundles of channels they want to watch instead of buying a bulk package. Verizon's profit fell but cruised past analysts' expectations, aided by higher sales for "EDGE," its no-subsidy plan for upgrading devices. Nomura analyst Adam Ilkowitz said, "Wireless competition has calmed, we believe, but the shift in consumer preference toward installment billing plans has a long way to go as about ten percent of Verizon customers are on EDGE currently." Verizon's shares fell in early trading.