Verizon earnings and revenue rise, top expectations

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Verizon’s adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter. It has been corrected.

Verizon Communications Inc. topped earnings and revenue expectations Wednesday while detailing how its recent commitments for wireless spectrum will impact its financials.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $5.4 billion, or $1.27 a share, up from $4.3 billion, or $1.00 a share, a year earlier.

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posted $1.31 in adjusted earnings per share, excluding a special item related to the sale of certain wireless licenses. The company had posted $1.26 in per-share earnings on an adjusted basis a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting $1.29 a share in adjusted earnings per share.

Total revenue for Verizon’s first quarter rose to $32.9 billion from $31.6 billion a year earlier, whereas analysts were expecting $32.5 billion.

Shares are off 0.4% in premarket trading.

In Verizon’s consumer business, the company saw 326,000 retail postpaid net losses and 225,000 phone net losses. Verizon’s total retail postpaid churn was 0.97%, while retail postpaid phone churn was 0.77%.

The company disclosed in its release that consumer wireless service revenue came in at $13.7 billion, up 1.5% from a year earlier, “driven by the continued adoption of wireless unlimited and premium unlimited plans.”

Verizon’s first-quarter capital expenditures amounted to $4.5 billion, including $40 million of items related to C-Band wireless spectrum.

The company paid about $45 billion to the Federal Communications Commission during the quarter for spectrum that Verizon acquired through a recent auction for frequencies that will be used to build out the company’s 5G network. The company raised $12 billion in the fourth quarter to help finance these purchases and then raised $31 billion more in March 2021.

For 2021, Verizon continues to expect service and other revenue growth of at least 2% and adjusted earnings per share of $5.00 to $5.15. The company projects $17.5 billion to $18.5 billion in capital spending, which is consistent with its projection as of its prior earnings report, though Verizon added this time that “expenditures related to the deployment of the company’s C-Band 5G network will be in addition to this amount, and are expected to be approximately $10 billion over three years, with $2 billion to $3 billion expected in 2021.”

Verizon shares have gained 2% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average
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-0.75%

has risen 8.5%.