(Reuters) -Verizon Communications Inc said on Wednesday it added more postpaid phone subscribers than expected in the third quarter and raised its annual earnings forecast, as more Americans switched to 5G-supported devices.
The wireless carrier has been investing heavily in 5G technology to keep up with a surge in demand for mobile and data plans that spiked during the pandemic.
The technology is touted to provide better coverage and faster internet, at a time when much social interaction, work and schooling is online.
Verizon (NYSE:) added 429,000 postpaid phone subscribers in the quarter, above FactSet estimates of 302,300.
Analysts and investors closely watch postpaid phone figures, as those customers pay a recurring monthly bill, making them valuable to the carriers, although subscriber figures between U.S. carriers can be difficult to compare given the variety of plans offered.
In the run-up to the holiday quarter, carriers are also giving aggressive subsidies for the new range of iPhones from Apple Inc (NASDAQ:). The phones come with custom 5G antennas and radio components for faster speeds.
Verizon has increased its trade-in subsidies on offer of up to $1000 for the latest iPhone 13 in September, matching rival AT&T (NYSE:) in an attempt to attract more customers to its carrier network.
The company raised its 2021 adjusted earnings per share expectations to between $5.35 to $5.40 from its prior guidance of $5.25 to $5.35.
In the reported quarter, Verizon’s total operating revenue rose 4.3% to $32.9 billion, but missed analysts’ average estimate of $33.2 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Excluding items, it earned $1.41 per share, beating expectations of $1.36.
Shares of Verizon were up 0.7% in premarket trading.
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