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Verizon sees boost in 5G adoption as it touts a 'record' second quarter

The carrier's device promotions appear to be working.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon has been pushing 5G phone upgrades and it looks like people are taking advantage. In its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday the company announced an adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.37 on $33.8 billion in revenue, beating Wall Street expectations. 

Analysts, as polled by Yahoo Finance, expected EPS of $1.29 and revenues of $32.68 billion. 

During the period the telecommunications giant added 528,000 postpaid customers across its consumer and business divisions, of which 275,000 were postpaid phone users. Postpaid accounts, belonging to customers who pay their bills at the end of the month, are valued more highly by the investment community as a key metric for success.

Verizon was aggressive with its offers to new and existing customers during the period, introducing what it called its "biggest Verizon 5G upgrade campaign ever" in June. That deal was designed to get people to upgrade to a 5G device like the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21 on an installment plan, offering deep discounts if they traded in their current phone and switched to one of the carrier's higher-priced unlimited plans known as Play More, Do More and Get More. 

It seems to have worked. On Wednesday the carrier said that it saw more "5G adoption and step-ups to premium unlimited plans" during the second quarter, with its consumer side ending the period with "approximately 20% of wireless phone customers having 5G-capable devices."

Wireless equipment revenues for the quarter were $4.7 billion, a rebound it says is "above prepandemic levels." 

In addition to the wireless growth, Verizon also revealed that it added 92,000 consumer Fios Internet accounts during the period. with a loss of 62,000 Fios Video accounts as people continue to cut the cord.