• September 25, 2023

Verizon tops earnings expectations as promotions help drive 5G upgrades

Verizon Communications Inc.’s promotions paid off last quarter and helped drive more 5G upgrades and continue to keep subscriber churn low.

Verizon shares
VZ, + 0.67%
gained 0.7% in Wednesday’s trading after the telecommunications company released better-than-expected financial results and raised its outlook, with Verizon citing a “record” number of new accounts that had recently opted for Premium Unlimited plans.

In the consumer market, Verizon saw postpaid phone churn in retail sales of 0.65%, one of the lowest rates ever as a limited number of consumers switched wireless carriers. Verizon also recorded 350,000 net postpaid additions to retail, including 197,000 net additions by phone, and said about 20% of consumer cellular customers are now using 5G phones.

Verizon stepped up its promotions in the June quarter, which seemed to resonate with consumers. “Device upgrades, which were significantly higher compared to Q2 2020 and 2019, drove the adoption of 5G and the expansion to Premium Unlimited plans, a strong indicator that our strategy is working,” said CFO Matthew Ellis at the Verizon conference call.

At the same time, CEO Hans Vestberg said the company was geared towards “profitable growth”. Promotions can help attract new customers or encourage existing customers to upgrade, but they can also hurt margins.

Information on Verizon’s website of a deal of up to $ 700 off the iPhone 12 when consumers trade older devices suggests the promotion will end on July 21, according to Moffett analyst Nathanson Craig Moffett It makes one wonder how “sustainable” Verizon’s strong subscriber trends are without such deals, especially as the competitive landscape evolves.

CMCSA, +1.28%
Price cuts for multi-line family plans, undercutting Verizon on every size plan … for exactly the same network (Verizons), ”he wrote in a message to his customers. Comcast leverages Verizon’s network through its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model.

Charter Communications Inc.
CHTR, -0.05%
could take a similar step, argued Moffett, and AT&T Inc.
T, -0.04%
recently signed a long-term agreement with Dish Network Corp.
COURT, + 2.35%
This will allow Dish to use AT & T’s network while it works on building its own network.

“By entering into a long-term MVNO agreement with AT&T Dish that allows exactly the same kind of selective relocation that the Verizon deal gives cable, AT&T Dish has opened a near-sure path to becoming a serious long-term competitor,” Moffett wrote who put the stock on neutral. “And a long-term price reducer.”

Verizon posted net income of $ 5.95 billion, or $ 1.40 per share, for the second quarter, compared to $ 4.84 billion or $ 1.13 per share last year. On an adjusted basis, Verizon made $ 1.37 per share, up from $ 1.18 per share last year and before the FactSet consensus called for $ 1.30 per share.

The company’s operating revenue rose from $ 30.45 billion to $ 33.76 billion in the quarter, while analysts tracked by FactSet expected an average of $ 32.77 billion. Verizon generated $ 23.5 billion in consumer revenue, $ 7.8 billion in business revenue and $ 2.1 billion in media revenue.

The telecommunications company now expects total mobile service revenues to grow by 3.5 to 4.0% for the full fiscal year, while previously a growth of at least 3% was forecast. Verizon pulled its previous expectations for service and other revenue growth when it recently announced plans to sell its Verizon Media business, with the transaction expected to close in the third quarter.

Verizon now forecasts adjusted earnings per share of $ 5.25 to $ 5.35 for the full year, up from its previous forecast of $ 5.00 to $ 5.15. The company continues to expect investments of $ 17.5 billion to $ 18.5 billion in 2021.

Verizon’s shares are down 3.8% in the past three months, as has the Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA, + 0.83%
added 1.9%.

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