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Verizon Profits Match Estimates, Sales Rise

Shares are gaining 2.3% in early trading.


(VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report

matched estimates with its first-quarter results Monday, buoyed by strong growth in its wireless and high-speed Internet divisions.

The New York-based phone giant posted adjusted earnings of $1.74 billion, or 61 cents a share, which is a nickel better than the year-ago profit performance. Analysts were expecting 61 cents in pro forma earnings in the first quarter, according to Thomson Financial.

Sales rose 5.5% from a year ago to $23.8 billion and were roughly in line with expectations of $23.85 billion.

"Verizon has weathered the current economic uncertainty with strong first-quarter results," said CEO Ivan Seidenberg in a release. "I am also confident of our position over the long term because we have further opportunities to drive revenue growth and further opportunities to eliminate costs."

Cramer: Verizon, AT&T Have Room to Run

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Verizon Wireless -- jointly owned by Verizon and


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-- continued to show strength as rival


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faced high customer attrition. Verizon added 1.5 million net new post-paid subscribers in the first quarter. The monthly customer defection rate remained at an industry low 1.19%, with post-paid churn slightly below 1%. The wireless unit generated revenue of $11.7 billion, up 13.2% year over year.

The company added 263,000 net new FiOS TV customers, taking the total to 1.2 million at the end of the quarter. Verizon says it added 266,000 fast Internet subscribers, with 262,000 taking fiber-optic connections.

A recent report from rival


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, which nabbed an exclusive contract for


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iPhone after Verizon passed on it, also showed strong growth in its wireless and broadband operations.

However, Verizon's core wireline business continued to erode. Wireline revenue fell 1.4% from a year ago to $12.3 billion as customers disconnected second lines or shifted to competing services.

Verizon shares rose 86 cents, or 2.3%, to $37.90 in premarket trading Monday. Sprint was higher by 0.9% at $7.98, while AT&T was unchanged at $38.58.