Verizon Lost 168,000 Fios TV Subs in 2018

Verizon Communications Jan. 29 reported it lost 46,000 Fios TV subscribers in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018), reflecting the ongoing secular shift from traditional linear pay-TV to over-the-top video offerings. The telecom lost 29,000 video subs in the previous-year period.

Verizon ended 2018 with 4.45 million Fios Video subscribers, down 3.6% from 4.61 million subs at the end of 2017.

“We expect legacy product revenue to continue to decline in 2019 at rates consistent with last year,” CFO Matt Ellis said on the fiscal call.

Meanwhile, Verizon added 217,000 broadband subscribers – underscoring consumer demand for high-speed Internet service in an era of online TV and OTT video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

The telecom also continues to push 5G, the next-generation faster mobile network technology. The company (along with AT&T) claimed the first commercial and residential rollouts of 5G networks, despite the limited supply of compatible 5G smartphones on the market.

“As we head into 2019 and the 5G era, we’re beginning a period of transformational change,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. “We are laser focused on delivering customers a best-in-class and game-changing experience on our networks.”

 

Verizon Loses 151K Fios Video Subs, Puts Focus on 5G

Verizon Oct. 23 revealed it lost 151,000 Fios video subscribers in third-quarter (ended Sept. 30), impacted by ongoing consumer shifts away from traditional linear pay-TV offerings. The telecom ended the period with 4.49 million Fios video subs compared to 4.64 million subs in the previous-year period.

Net video sub losses totaled 63,000 compared to 18,000 last year. Year-to-date net losses have reached 122,000 compared to 46,000 during the previous-year period. Broadband connections remained relatively flat at 6.95 million compared to 6.97 million.

More importantly, the wired segment (Fios video and broadband) reported an operating loss of $50 million on revenue of $7.4 billion, compared to operating income of $65 million and revenue of $7.7 billion last year.

To new CEO Hans Vestberg, the video sub/operating income losses apparently don’t warrant mention as the telecom rolls out what it claims is the world’s first 5G wireless commercial network.

“With the beginning of the 5G era in this fourth quarter … we are investing in networks, creating platforms to add value for customers and maintaining a focused, disciplined strategy,” Vestberg said in a statement. “Verizon is best positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new game-changing generation of technology.”

Indeed, Verizon ended the period with more than 112 million wireless connections (mobile phones, tablets and related devices), up 2.2% from 109.6 million connections last year. The company added 295,000 mobile phone connections.

Separately, Verizon said it does not expect to meet the previous announced target of $10 billion in Oath revenue by 2020. The media entertainment unit, which includes AOL, Yahoo, Verizon digital media services and related brands such as TechCrunch, Engadget and HuffPost, reported quarterly revenue of $1.8 billion – down nearly 7% from last year.

Tim Armstrong, the former AOL CEO who headed Oath since its inception, exited the unit in September and was replaced by K. Guru Gowrappan, effective Oct. 1.

Finally, go90, Verizon’s short-lived video entertainment app targeting younger mobile users, ceased operations in quarter after generating about $1 billion in losses.