Verizon subscriber addition beats estimates on Disney+ boost

Key Points
  • Verizon added more-than-expected mobile phone subscribers who pay a monthly bill in the fourth quarter.
  • The company benefited from offering a free, one-year subscription to Disney+ with some of its plans.
  • Total operating revenue for the largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers was $34.78 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $34.28 billion a year earlier.
Pedestrians cross Herald Square in front of a Verizon Wireless store in New York.
Richard Levine | Corbis | Getty Images

Verizon Communications Inc on Thursday added more monthly mobile phone subscribers than expected as it benefited from including Disney+ streaming service with some of its plans.

The company said it added 790,000 postpaid phone customers, well above the average analysts' estimate of 525,000 subscribers, according to research firm FactSet.

The largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscribers has cut prices and made its offerings more attractive by bundling services such as Apple Music to battle intense competition in the industry.

In October, Verizon said it would offer a year-long subscription to Walt Disney's Disney+ with its unlimited plans, a move aimed at rival AT&T, which is expected to launch its own streaming platform, HBO Max, in May.

Revenue in Verizon's media unit, which includes Yahoo, HuffPost and TechCrunch, was nearly flat at $2.1 billion from a year earlier.

Net income rose to $5.22 billion, or $1.23 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $2.07 billion, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total operating revenue rose to $34.78 billion from $34.28 billion, beating the estimate of $34.60 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.