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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report

hit third-quarter targets as strong wireless and weak FiOS gains helped offset old-line phone service declines.

Adjusted earnings, excluding one-time items, was 60 cents a share, down 9% from the 66-cent level in the year-ago quarter, but a penny better than the 59 cents analysts were looking for, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Sales for the third quarter ended last month were $27.2 billion, up 10% from the $24.7 billion last year and in line with the $27.2 billion in revenue that analysts were expecting.

In wireless, Verizon added 1.2 million new subscribers including 1 million in post-paid retail customers, which

matched analysts' expectations

for the quarter. The subscriber growth, while solid, showed signs of weakness in areas such as the increase in churn. The monthly subscriber defection rate rose to 1.49% from 1.33% in the year-ago period

because of competition

, largely from

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In Verizon's core wireline business, the access line count continued to fall. Total phone lines fell 10% to 33.4 million from 37.1 million a year ago. But some growth in the company's FiOS, fiber optic TV and Internet service helped offset the line erosion slightly.

Verizon says it added 198,000 net new FiOS Net customers, a 49% gain from year-ago levels, but below analysts' expectations. And in FiOS TV, Verizon says it added 191,000 net new users for a 68% year-over-year gain that was still well below the 250,000 target analysts had.

"Even through the worst of the recession, we have continued to raise our dividend and to add new customers, expand markets and grow revenues based on the power and innovation of Verizon's wireless, broadband and global networks," CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in a press release Monday.

The balance sheet offered a mixed picture: Cash generation was strong, but debt continued to balloon in the third quarter. Free cash flow for the first nine months was $10.7 billion, up $3.3 billion from the first nine months of 2008. But total debt has grown 21% to $62.8 billion in the past year.

Despite matching Wall Street financial targets, Verizon shares were down 14 cents to $28.71 in premarket trading Monday.