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Verizon Sees More Consumer Phone Users Flee as Prices Rise

Higher plan prices continue to take a toll on Verizon's consumer wireless business.

Verizon logo on a phone screen
CNET

Verizon has raised its plan prices in recent months, and customers are continuing to flee as a result. On Friday the nation's largest wireless carrier reported its third-quarter earnings, noting that it had a net loss of 189,000 wireless postpaid phone users due "partially as a result of recent pricing actions." 

Postpaid users, or those who pay their phone bill at the end of the month, are a metric used by the wireless industry as an indicator of a carrier's success. AT&T, which reported its earnings on Thursday, saw a rise of 708,000 postpaid phone customers in the same period. 

Verizon started raising prices on some of its plans back in June, increasing the price of some of the administrative fees it charges as well as hiking up the rates for those on older, shared data plans. In July, it reported a loss of 215,000 consumer postpaid phone subscribers during the second quarter, and last month Verizon Wireless CEO Hans Vestberg warned that the losses would increase in this period

The carrier did see some growth during the third quarter, particularly in its broadband and business units. In addition to 58,000 new Fios Internet adds, Verizon revealed that it added 234,000 new consumer "fixed wireless" users during the quarter, showing growth as the carrier pushes its 5G Home broadband option. 

The carrier now offers home internet over its wireless network to over 40 million households, with its faster 5G Ultra Wideband flavor available to more than 30 million homes. 

Verizon's business unit meanwhile had 197,000 postpaid phone net adds for the quarter and 108,000 fixed wireless net adds. All told, when adding up the postpaid phone additions from the business side with the consumer losses Verizon had 8,000 postpaid phone net additions for the quarter. 

Verizon posted $34.2 billion in revenue in the quarter, beating analyst expectations of $33.78 billion. The carrier reported net income of $5 billion, or $1.17 earnings per share. Its adjusted earnings were $1.32 per share, beating the expectations of $1.29 per share according to analysts polled by Yahoo Finance

Shares of Verizon were down nearly 5% in early trading Friday following the earnings report.