Telcos on Track for 1M DSL-Sub Gain in 1Q


Verizon Communications joined SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. Tuesday in announcing record digital-subscriber-line growth in the first quarter, putting the U.S. telephony industry on pace to add 1 million DSL customers in one financial quarter for the first time ever.

Verizon reported 345,000 new DSL customers in the first quarter of 2004, easily surpassing its fourth-quarter-2003 additions of 203,000 subscribers.

Last week, SBC reported 446,000 new DSL subscribers in the first quarter, while BellSouth reported 156,000 additions.

Those three regional Bell operating companies added 947,000 DSL subscribers in the quarter, a 35% increase over their fourth-quarter additions of 700,000. Qwest Communications International Inc. has yet to report.

Leading cable MSOs Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable will report their results Wednesday.

But Verizon's DSL additions and its wireless additions of 5.6 million subscribers year-over-year masked weakness in its other business sectors.

Overall first-quarter revenue was $17.1 billion, up slightly from last year's $16.5 billion. But net earnings slipped 50%, from $2.4 billion to $1.2 billion, largely due to a $1.4 billion increase in selling, general and administrative expenses. The company said it lost 2.4 million access lines over the past 12 months.