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Verizon, the largest US mobile carrier, lost hundreds of thousands of customers in the first three months of the year despite resurrecting its unlimited data plan.
The first of the “big four” to report first quarter results said it lost 307,000 postpaid, or monthly, phone subscribers, in the first quarter. Analyst had expected Verizon to add about 200,000 such subscribers.
Shares in Verizon were down 2.2 per cent in pre market trading.
Verizon reported adjusted earnings of 95 cents per share on $29.8bn in revenue, in line with analysts’ forecasts for 96 cents a share on $30.5bn in revenue.
Wall Street analysts had already pared back expectations for the quarter on fears that an industry-wide price war would eat into profits. Verizon in February resurrected its unlimited data plan to combat customer defections to fast-growing T-Mobile. Smaller rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have been winning over new customers by offering generous deals with unlimited data plans.
Verizon said that bringing back its unlimited data plan had helped prevent even steeper customer losses.
On Tuesday chief executive Lowell McAdam declared the company was open to deals with large media companies such as Comcast, Disney or CBS. Investors are betting on a flurry of consolidation for the telecoms sector under a perceived more lenient Trump regulatory regime.