Verizon posts 8.4% fall in Q1 profits

US giant Verizon's first quarter earnings fell 8.4% to $1.5 billion as strong showings in the mobile phone business and the crucial FiOS Internet and TV initiative were offset by the loss of income from assets the company sold over the past year, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report also said profit also was hurt by a larger-than-expected loss of traditional telephone customers to cable TV companies and other rival providers, but the bottom line edged most Wall Street forecasts.

The profit for the first three months of 2007 amounted to $0.51 per share, the report said.

In the same period last year, before Verizon's spin-off of its phone directories business and another asset sale, earnings totaled $1.63 billion, $0.56 per share, the report said.

First-quarter revenue grew 6.4% to $22.58 billion from $21.23 billion a year earlier, the report further said.

Leading the improvement again was Verizon Wireless, where revenues grew 17% to $10.31 billion as the business added 1.7 million customers, finishing the quarter with 60.7 million, the report added.

The average revenue per user rose 2.8% to $50.73 per month, driven by gains in non-voice services, especially music downloads, the report said.

But Verizon's consumer revenue fell 3.5% to $4.2 billion as the company continued to lose residential phone customers as well as long-distance subscribers from the acquired MCI business, the report further said.