Verizon revenue rises as retail postpaid subscribers increase

A pedestrian talks on a mobile phone as she walks past a Verizon Wireless retail store in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Verizon's quarterly revenue rose 6.8 percent due to an increase in subscribers who pay for services after use, and a rise in average revenue per account as users added more devices to shared data plans.

The company, however, reported a loss of $2.15 billion, or 54 cents per share, for the fourth quarter compared with a profit of $7.92 billion, or $1.76 per share, a year earlier, mainly due to valuation of benefits plan and pension adjustments.

Shares in Verizon dipped slightly to $47.95 in premarket trading after closing at $48.25 on Wednesday.

Excluding items, Verizon earned 71 cents per share, matching Wall street estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose to $33.19 billion from $31.07 billion, slightly higher than analysts' expectations of $32.69 billion.

Verizon's retail postpaid average revenue per account rose to $158.82 from $157.21, but was below $161.64 estimated by analysts polled by research firm StreetAccount.

The company added a net 2 million postpaid subscribers, more than the 1.5 million subscribers it added last quarter and 1.65 million subscribers it added in the same quarter a year ago.

Faber Report: Verizon trending right way
Faber Report: Verizon trending right way

Customer defections, known as churn, in postpaid accounts rose to 1.4 percent. Verizon had warned earlier this month that heavy competition and promotional offers in the holiday season would increase its churn rate both from last year and the last quarter.

Total revenues in its wireless business grew 11 percent from a year ago but dropped 1.6 percent for its FiOS Internet and video product business.

Barclays slashed its Verizon rating from "equal weight" to "overweight" on Wednesday, while Evercore also downgraded its stock from "hold" to "buy" recently.

Verizon's CEO, Lowell McAdam also fended off rumors of the company buying New York City-based AOL. "I think AOL, along with lots of other media companies, are potential for us to do partnering, commercial basis or whatever," McAdam said at the Citi Media Conference on Tuesday, Jan. 6. "But to say we are having significant acquisition discussions is not accurate."

The stock has been under performing since mid-December in comparison to the rest of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, including telecom rival AT&T.

Click here to see what Verizon shares are doing before the bell.

CNBC contributed to this report