Verizon Communications reported Thursday third-quarter profit rose 4.1%, boosted by continued strong gains in wireless service and record additions of high-speed Internet customers. In the latest quarter, the New York-based communications giant said it earned $1.87 billion, or 67 cents a share, up from a year-ago profit of $1.79 billion, or 64 cents. Revenue rose 4.6%, reaching $19.04 billion from $18.2 billion.
Excluding special items, Verizon would have earned $1.8 billion, or 66 cents a share, in the latest quarter, slightly higher than the year-earlier period. The company had been expected to earn 64 cents a share on revenue of $18.88 billion, according to average estimates among analysts polled by Thomson First Call.
The company’s wireless division, a joint venture partly owned by U.K.-based Vodafone Group, added 1.9 million net new customers to end the September quarter with 49.3 million subscriber. Wireless revenue grew 14.2% to $8.4 billion. Verizon is battling Cingular Wireless, the nation’s No. 1 wireless provider, and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) for U.S. industry dominance. Sprint recently acquired Nextel Communications to solidify its position as the No. 3 mobile carrier, one spot behind Verizon Wireless.
Looking ahead, Verizon predicted that annual revenue in 2005 would grow at a rate of 5.5% to 5.8%, a range tightened from its prior outlook calling for 5% to 6% growth.