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Verizon's third-quarter earnings see growth in wireless and Fios businesses

The nation's largest wireless carrier is getting bigger.

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- 02:09
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Verizon saw growth in its wireless and Fios units.

Angela Lang/CNET

Verizon on Wednesday announced what it called "strong" third-quarter earnings, thanks to growth in its wireless phone business and Fios home internet service. 

The company reported an earnings per share of $1.05 for the quarter, down from analyst estimates of $1.24 according to Yahoo Finance. On an adjusted non-GAAP basis the company says its EPS was $1.25, beating analyst expectations, with the reported EPS being impacted roughly 5 cents because of COVID-19 as well as a "net pre-tax charge of about $1.1 billion related to a mark-to-market adjustment for pension liabilities."

Revenue for the quarter was $31.5 billion, short of estimates of $31.6 billion, with the drop being partially blamed on "lower customer activity and the timing of certain device launches." Apple's latest iPhones, which are hotly anticipated devices for wireless companies as a way to attract customers from rivals, were only announced last week. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro won't go on sale until Friday, and the iPhone 12 Mini and Pro Max won't be available until November.

See also: iPhone 12 review: One of our highest rated phones of all time

Verizon has been heavily touting the new iPhones, with CEO Hans Vestberg appearing on stage during Apple's virtual event to announce the availability of the company's nationwide 5G network. The company has since launched a variety of iPhone promotions to lure upgrades and new users and is featuring actor Chris Rock in television ads for the new phones. 

Even without the new iPhones, the nation's largest wireless carrier added 283,000 postpaid net smartphone users for the quarter. These users, who pay their phone bills at the end of the month, are valued more highly by the investment community as a key metric of a carrier's success.

The company's Fios home broadband business saw its highest internet additions since the fourth quarter of 2014, with 144,000 net additions. The Fios unit did, however, see 61,000 customers cut its cable TV service. 

Verizon has adjusted its guidance for the year to now see adjusted EPS growth of 0 to 2 percent, up from prior guidance of -2 to 2 percent, with wireless revenue in particular set to grow "at least 2 percent" in the fourth quarter. 

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