Verizon posts better-than-expected profits

Verizon posts better-than-expected profits New York - Verizon Communications Inc, the second-largest US phone company, had better-than-expected profits of about 3.2 billion dollars in the first quarter as customers laid out more money for text messaging and other services. Sales rose 12 per cent to 26.6 billion dollars, bolstered by the purchase of Alltel Corp. But global business revenues dropped 3.4 per cent as companies fired workers and delayed new purchases, Bloomberg financial news service reported.

Verizons net income was 3.21 billion dollars. Taking into account its partnership with Vodafone Group Plc, year-ago net income amounted to 3.05 billion dollars.

The average monthly bill for a wireless customer had fallen less than 1 per cent, to 50.74 dollars.

With the wireless market reaching 90 per cent saturation, Verizon is looking for new opportunities, including the marriage of its wireless service to netbooks - mini-laptops that can sell for less than 500 dollars, a person close to the project told Bloomberg.

Verizon's fiber-optics business - which offers high-definition television and high-speed internet - is also growing, after doubling from 1 million to 2.2 million television subscribers in the past year. Internet subscribers increased 56 per cent to 2.78 million.(dpa)