July 25, 2020 / 3:41 AM / 15 days ago

Verizon beats estimates on lockdown boost to phone, internet services

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc on Friday beat estimates for second-quarter profit and revenue on strong demand for its phone and internet services as coronavirus-induced lockdowns prompted a rapid shift to remote working and learning.

Workers board up a Verizon store in midtown Manhattan during protests against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in New York City, U.S., June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

Although stay-at-home orders cut down store visits, limiting new sign-ups in a quarter that was almost entirely spent under lockdown rules, a pick up in demand for internet services helped the company add more phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill.

In the second quarter, Verizon added 173,000 postpaid phone customers, well above analysts’ average estimate of 61,200, according to research firm FactSet.

Total operating revenue fell 5.1% to $30.4 billion but beat the analysts’ average estimate of $29.93 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. [ nGNX1sZVzg]

The company attributed the fall in revenue to a decline in device sales in the quarter, hurt by lockdown-led store closures.

It has been gradually repopening stores and at the end of the quarter more than 60% of company-operated retail stores were open, Verizon said in a statement.

In the previous quarter, Verizon bled 68,000 monthly paying phone subscribers as it had to quickly close 70% of its stores.

Revenue in Verizon’s media unit, which includes Yahoo, HuffPost and TechCrunch, declined 24.5% in the second quarter to $1.4 billion from a year earlier as companies cut down on advertising to rein in expenses.

Net income rose to $4.84 billion, or $1.13 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30 from $4.07 billion, or $0.95 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, Verizon earned $1.18 per share, above analysts’ average estimate of $1.15.

Reporting by Neha Malara; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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