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UPDATE 2-Verizon vows to avoid mass discounts as profit misses expectations

* Posts fewer net subscriber adds than rival AT&T

* Adjusted EPS misses Wall Street expectations by 3 cents

* Revenue growth highest in five quarters

* Shares down 2 pct in morning

(Adds CFO, analyst comments, financial details, stock price)

NEW YORK, April 24 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said it will try to avoid following rivals into the practice of winning more customers through discounts, as the company's quarterly profit fell short of Wall Street expectations on Thursday.

While its competitors have engaged in aggressive discounts, Verizon has been more conservative in launching its price cuts and has relied on its status as industry leader in high-speed data to attract subscribers.

"We've built our brand on a superior network. We are not going to be the low-cost provider in the marketplace," Verizon's chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, told Reuters.

"Not every subscriber is equal," he said. "We will take our time and respond where we need to respond. We will attack the quality base of customers that we are targeting."

Verizon shares were down nearly 2 percent on Thursday morning.

The company's wireless business added 539,000 postpaid subscribers in the quarter, 20 percent less than in the year-ago quarter, while No. 2 carrier AT&T Inc added 625,000 subscribers, blowing past Wall Street expectations.

Analysts say that as the industry leader, Verizon is looking to maintain its premium price point as a sign of a superior product even at the expense of additional subscribers.

"It is very easy in this industry to lower prices, but it is almost impossible to raise them," said Roger Enter of Recon Analytics.

"They are rightfully cautious about not jumping head-on into what could be a price war," he said.

Excluding unusual items, Verizon's earnings per share of 84 cents fell short of Wall Street expectations of 87 cents per share.

The No. 1 U.S. mobile provider earned $5.98 billion in the first quarter, compared with $4.86 billion in the year-ago quarter.

On the wireline side, it said it added 57,000 FiOS video customers and 98,000 net new FiOS Internet connections in the quarter.

The company said wireless customer defections, known in the industry as churn, increased slightly from a year ago.

Revenue rose 4.8 percent, the highest growth rate in five quarters, to $30.82 billion from $29.42 billion a year earlier. Wall Street expected $30.698 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Its February acquisition of Vodafone Group Plc's 45 percent share in their prior joint venture for $130 billion gave the company access to greater amounts of cash flow.

Verizon shares were down 1.9 percent at $46.53 on Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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