Unlimited data helps Verizon stem massive subscriber loss in first quarter

verizon upgrade fee contracts
Ken Wolter/123RF
Verizon just suffered one of its worst-ever financial quarters. And the losses would have been even greater, if not for the introduction of its unlimited data plan.

The wireless carrier reported its first quarter results today, and the news wasn’t encouraging. Verizon lost 289,000 postpaid phone subscribers during the period. That’s after the company unveiled its new plan in February, touching off a domino effect within the industry that forced AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint to go back to the drawing board and make their deals more competitive. Before that point, Verizon had lost an astonishing 398,000 subscribers through only the first half of the quarter.

After the initial slide, Verizon rebounded slightly thanks to unlimited data, clawing back about 109,000 subscribers. The company attributes the plan’s launch with “positively changing the trajectory of customer additions” in its earnings report.

Ultimately, Verizon posted $29.8 billion in total revenue — a decrease of roughly 7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Keeping these losses in mind, its much easier to understand why Verizon unexpectedly doubled back on its attitude toward unlimited data several months ago. It also gives some context to CEO Lowell McAdam’s interview with Bloomberg earlier in the week, where he said he’d be open to merger talks with a number of media companies, including Comcast, Disney, and CBS.

“If [Comcast CEO] Brian [Roberts] came knocking on the door, I’d have a discussion with him about it,” McAdam told Bloomberg. “But I’d also tell you there isn’t much that I wouldn’t have a discussion around if somebody came and said ‘Here’s a compelling reason why we ought to put the businesses together.’”

At the same time, Verizon is still in the process of trying to complete its acquisition of Yahoo. It intends to fold both Yahoo and AOL, which it also owns, into a new media company called Oath.

Verizon finished second to T-Mobile in our assessment of the unlimited data plans currently on the market from the four major carriers. While Verizon’s offering is one of the industry’s more compelling, thanks to the company’s impressive infrastructure, it falls short of T-Mobile’s pricing and perks.

Product Review

You’d be crazy to dismiss the Huawei Mate 20 as an amateur

Traditionally, Huawei’s Mate series of phones has been a little staid. That started to change with the Mate 10 Pro, and now both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro have come along to turn our heads. Here’s a look at the standard Mate 20.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Mobile

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.
Home Theater

Free original content is coming to Apple devices, but only if it’s rated PG

New reports say that Apple is planning to bring free original content to the TV app on its devices next year, but don't expect any blood and gore, as the company will only show PG content.
Gaming

Get in the Halloween spirit with the ‘Destiny 2’ Festival of the Lost event

Bungie has announced Festival of the Lost 2018, a Halloween event coming to Destiny 2. The even will include a new player-versus-environment mode that can be played either solo or cooperatively.
Mobile

Mate 20 range now includes new 20 X model with huge 7.2-inch display

Huawei has released the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. With all new Kirin processors, advanced A.I. brains, and an amazing triple camera, here's absolutely everything you need to know about the new Mate 20 series.
Mobile

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…
Mobile

Safeguard your new Apple smartphone with one of our favorite iPhone XS cases

If the iPhone XS is your next phone, then you’ll want to shop for some proper protection now. That glass sandwich design is all too easy to scratch or crack, so make sure you snag one of the best iPhone XS cases to keep it looking good.
Mobile

Here are our favorite wireless phone chargers for Android devices and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Google will start charging Android manufacturers to use its apps in Europe

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement comes as an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2018

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Mobile

Huawei and Leica’s monochrome lens is dead, so we celebrate its life

The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro do not have a dedicated monochrome camera lens, unlike the P20 Pro, and various Huawei and Leica phones before it. It's the end of an era, and also the start of a new one, as Leica has worked on its…
Mobile

The Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, so now you can read it in the tub

Amazon released a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite ebook reader, boasting improved software, more storage, and a feature that customers have been asking for: Waterproofing.
Deals

Verizon’s buy one, get one offer is the best deal on the new Google Pixel 3

If you need a new smartphone and want the best (without shelling out a grand or more), the new Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are fantastic options. Verizon's BOGO offer is the best way to score a deal, letting you snag a free phone and save…