BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone Group (NYSE and LSE: VOD), today announced that its total customers grew to 28 million, a 14 percent increase year-over-year. During the first quarter 2001, the company added more than 518,000 net new customers.
Demand for wireless services in the quarter was solid, with gross customer additions increasing eight percent over the year-earlier quarter. Net additions were negatively impacted by the company's ongoing aggressive plan to remove non-revenue producing analog pre-pay customers from its base, as part of the merger integration process of blending the marketing and operations of several companies. As a result, the company posted a total churn rate of 2.8 percent including prepay, marginally up from the fourth quarter, and a post-paid churn rate of 2.3 percent, down slightly from the fourth quarter.
Continuing the trend from the fourth quarter to improve the overall customer base, net customer additions under contract increased by more than 50 percent over the prior year, with virtually all net customer additions in the quarter under contract. Additionally, the company ended the quarter with more than one million subscriptions to its wireless data services. This continued focus on improving the quality of the customer base resulted in an increase of more than 2.5 percent in service-revenue-per-subscriber from the prior-year quarter.
"This was a solid quarter in terms of gross additions, which were in line with our expectations," said Denny Strigl, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "Our net addition subscriber mix of mostly digital contract customers resulted in continued service revenue per-sub accretion. While total churn increased slightly from the fourth quarter, it was primarily due to analog pre-pay churn as we focus on adding customers to more profitable segments."
All comparisons with last year's results are on a pro forma basis, reflecting the formation of Verizon Wireless from the U.S. wireless operations of Bell Atlantic, Vodafone Group, and GTE as if it had occurred on January 1, 1999.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with 27.5 million wireless voice and data customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp -- now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 38,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.