Verizon FiOS Still Growing, But Slowing

Verizon’s fiber-fed FiOS service continued to head in a positive direction in the first quarter of 2014, but the rate of subscriber growth showed signs of slowing.

Verizon added 57,000 FiOS Video connections in the first quarter of 2014, versus 169,000 in the year-ago quarter. It also tacked on 98,000 FiOS Internet subs in the first quarter, down from the 188,000 it added a year ago. Verizon added 126,000 net new FiOS Internet connections and 92,000 new FiOS video customers in the fourth quarter of 2013. 

With DSL factored in, Verizon added 16,000 broadband customers in the first quarter, compared to 99,000 in the first quarter of 2013, giving it a grand total of 9 million, up 1.5% year-over-year. During the quarter, Verizon migrated an additional 78,000 customers from copper to fiber.

Verizon said 51% of FiOS Internet subs now take FiOS Quantum, it’s higher end tier that offers speeds from 50 Mbps to 500 Mbps, up from 46% in the year-ago quarter.

With first quarter totals factored in, Verizon ended the period with 5.3 million FiOS video subs and 6.2 million FiOS Internet subscribers. Verizon said FiOS Internet penetration at the end of the quarter was 39.7%, versus 38.2% in the year-ago quarter, while FiOS video penetration reached 35%, up from 34.1%.

Verizon’s FiOS network passed 18.8 million premises at the end of the first quarter.

On the wireless side, Verizon added 549,000 retail net connections, including 539,000 retail postpaid net connections, and ended the quarter with 103.3 million retail connections. Smartphones now account for more than 72% of the Verizon Wireless retail postpaid customer phone base, up from 70% at the end of 2013.

Driven by wireless and FiOS services, Verizon pulled in first quarter revenues of $30.8 billion, up 4.8%, and posted $1.15 in earnings per share, up from 68 cents. First quarter results included an after-tax gain of about $1.9 billion (55 cents per share) tied to the sale of its minority interest in Vodafone Omnitel.

“Verizon has delivered double-digit earnings growth in eight of the past nine quarters, and in first-quarter 2014 we posted our strongest consolidated revenue growth in five quarters. With the wireless transaction now behind us, we have great confidence in our ability to sustain these strong results,” Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said, in a release.