Verizon more than triples Q1 profit, yet shares fall

Carrrier sells 2.2 million iPhones in first quarter, 906,000 new contracts

Shares of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) were down 91 cents, or 2.4 percent, to 36.88 early Thursday afternoon after the wireless carrier reported it more than tripled net income in the first quarter.

You read that correctly.

The company said Thursday morning that Q1 profits were $1.44 billion, or 51 cents a share, compared to $443 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue, though, rose only 0.3 percent to $26.99 billion from $26.91 billion a year ago. However, last year's Q1 results included revenues from operations Verizon has since divested. Excluding those operations, Q1 revenue was up 5.3 percent.

Consensus estimates had called for Verizon to report net income of 50 cents a share on revenue of $26.86 billion.

In its first quarter selling Apple's smartphone, Verizon Wireless reported it had activated 2.2 million iPhones, even though they were only available for part of the quarter, which ended March 31. The company began selling the iPhone on Feb. 10, becoming only the second U.S. carrier (after AT&T) to offer the Apple device.

Verizon Wireless signed up 906,000 new subscribers in Q1, versus AT&T's 62,000.

Verizon reiterated its previous guidance for the full year of 4 percent revenue growth and 8 percent earnings growth.

In a statement accompanying the earnings release, Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said, "In the first quarter, Verizon Wireless solidified its industry leadership with results that once again showed sustainable, profitable growth. We are executing on our business plans and building momentum, and we are on track to meet both our revenue and earnings objectives for the year."

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