Verizon FiOS TV subscriber growth slows

Telecom giant ends Mar. with 3 mil FiOS video customers

NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications signed up 168,000 net new FiOS TV subscribers in the first quarter as its TV service continued to lose growth momentum.

The telecom giant ended March with 3 million total FiOS video customers, but its quarterly adds were down more than 40% from the year-ago period. AT&T had on Wednesday also reported slower video subscriber growth. Verizon's year-over-year gains had also been lower in recent quarters.

"Their principal growth initiative, FiOS, is rapidly decelerating," said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. He said that customer growth "can be expected to trend further south as footprint expansion slows."

Verizon also added 185,000 net new FiOS high-speed Internet users for a total of 3.6 million.

Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said the quarter's results showed "good" revenue and subscriber gains for FiOS.

And CFO John Killian said on a conference call that "we are very satisfied with FiOS" and "very pleased" with its profitability, which he vowed will only improve going forward.

Analysts have predicted lower FiOS TV user gains this year as the service's penetration, currently at 25%, further increases.
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