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Verizon profit drops 23% as pricier plans result in subscriber loss

By Eva Mathews

(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc posted a 23% slide in third-quarter profit and missed market estimates for wireless subscriber additions on Friday, as several customers opted for cheaper plans from rivals AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US Inc.

Verizon lost 189,000 monthly bill-paying phone subscribers in its consumer business in the quarter after the U.S. carrier raised prices for its plans in June through additional charges, which was over and above its already pricier plans.

While the company benefited from a 1% rise in gross wireless additions (in consumer business) in the quarter, finance chief Matt Ellis told Reuters, but it was offset by "an increase in disconnects as we had some customers disconnect as a result of the pricing actions that we took".

Verizon added 8,000 net new monthly bill paying wireless phone subscribers in the quarter, well below Factset estimates of 35,400 additions.

Telecom players are coming under increasing pressure to keep their plans affordable as rising cost of living crimps discretionary spending by customers.

That coupled with higher costs due to heavy investment in 5G technology and rising competition to retain high-paying subscribers has hurt Verizon, which has been adding fewer subscribers than its rivals.

The carrier's net income for the quarter fell 23.3% to $5 billion. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.32 per share.

Total revenue, however, rose 4% to $34.2 billion, above expectations of $33.78 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
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