(Adds video subscriber loss, context)
NEW YORK, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc's quarterly revenue topped Wall Street analyst estimates on Thursday and the company added more phone subscribers than expected, sending shares of the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier up in pre-market trading.
The company said that it added 274,000 phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill on a net basis. Churn, or rate of customer defections for all customers paying a monthly bill, including tablet subscribers, was 0.97 percent.
Wells Fargo analysts had said in a note on Monday that they expected net phone subscriber additions of 185,000 and churn of 1.05 percent.
Shares, part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rose 2.4 percent to $49.82 in pre-market trading.
Verizon has been competing with smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp for customers in a mature market for wireless service in the United States. In February, the company reintroduced an unlimited data plan for the first time in more than five years, and other carriers responded by launching aggressive promotions.
But Wells Fargo analysts said in the note that they expected the third quarter was relatively less competitive, with many consumers pushing out the decision to switch carriers until the fourth quarter when Apple Inc's iPhone X is expected to debut. New phone launches typically give customers incentive to upgrade plans and change service providers.
Verizon also said it lost 18,000 video subscribers in the third quarter, citing a shift from traditional pay-TV packages to cheaper streaming services. AT&T Inc, which owns satellite television provider DirecTV, and cable company Comcast Corp have previously warned that a more competitive environment in the pay-TV industry would contribute to subscriber losses during the period.
Net income attributable to Verizon was $3.62 billion, or 89 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, flat from the year earlier period.
Excluding items, earnings per share was 98 cents.
Total revenue rose to $31.72 billion from $30.94 billion a year earlier.
According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, analysts had expected adjusted earnings per share of 98 cents and revenue of $31.45 billion.
(Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Nick Zieminski)