Verizon said it expects profits to shrink this year as the coronavirus crisis squeezes its wireless, pay TV and media divisions.
The telecom giant said Friday it lost 68,000 phone subscribers during the first quarter, due mostly to the fact that the wireless provider had to close 70 percent of its stores during the pandemic, which led to a “significant drop” in customer activity. However, the company added 59,000 FiOS broadband connections.
Verizon Chief Executive Hans Vestberg said his company began seeing big shifts in consumer behavior around mid-March, as nationwide quarantines began taking hold. Fewer new mobile sign-ups and increases broadband and Wifi usage in homes were among the changes.
Although pay TV customers have been cutting the cord for some time and opting to stream TV and movies, Verizon said it saw an acceleration of the trend. The company reported that it lost 84,000 subscribers of its FiOS TV service in the quarter, compared with a loss of 55,000, in the year-ago period.
Meanwhile, at the company’s media unit, which includes Yahoo and HuffPost, there was a 4 percent decline in revenue to $1.7 billion. The firm said the decrease was “driven almost entirely by COVID-19 impacts,” as advertising in March began to slump.
Like rival AT&T, which reported earnings earlier this week, Verizon pulled its annual guidance, due to the uncertain nature of the coronavirus pandemic.