Add Verizon to the list of major broadband providers that are starting to suffer financial pain from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its latest earnings report on Friday, July 24, Verizon said it lost 81,000 Fios video customers in the second quarter, widened from a loss of 52,000 subs in the year-ago quarter. As a result, the big US telco closed out June with just under 4 million video subs as the pay-TV cord-cutting trend continues at a torrid pace.
At the same time, Verizon picked up a mere 10,000 Fios Internet customers in Q2, less than half the 28,000 subs it netted in the year-ago period, as it scaled back on both service promotions and customer installations. The provider ended the period with just under 6 million Fios Internet customers.
When DSL and other transmission technologies are factored in, Verizon lost a total of 13,000 broadband connections in the quarter, a deterioration from the 2,000 broadband subs it dropped a year ago. Verizon ended June with 6.47 million broadband connections overall.
Similar to its performance in prior quarters, Verizon fared even worse with its Fios digital voice service, shedding 70,000 connections in the quarter, more than double the 32,000 voice connections it lost a year earlier. Verizon ended Q2 with 3.46 million Fios digital voice connections, down from the 3.73 million it had in the year-ago period.
Due to these diminished subscriber metrics, Fios revenues amounted to $2.75 billion for the quarter, slightly down from $2.77 billion a year earlier. This means that overall Fios revenues have now dropped for the past two quarters after years of steady growth.
In a bid to keep Fios installations going despite pandemic-imposed restrictions on service technicians entering customers' homes, Verizon introduced its "Fios In a Box" initiative in April to foster equipment self-installs by subscribers. As part of that program, Verizon delivers the optical network terminal (ONT), set-top box, router, a power strip and required coax and Ethernet cables to the home, along with "crushable fiber" that can be fed through a window opening. Company technicians stay nearby to guide customers through the installation process and help with any issues using an app.
Speaking on Verizon's earnings call, Verizon EVP & CFO Matt Ellis said company technicians resumed conducting in-home installations in June. But the Fios In a Box program, which has proved popular, goes on as well.
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