NEW YORK -- As the 5G mobility era begins, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) today reported first-quarter 2019 results highlighted by continued wireless service revenue growth and strong earnings per share.
For first-quarter 2019, Verizon reported EPS of $1.22, compared with $1.11 in first-quarter 2018. On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), first-quarter 2019 EPS was $1.20, excluding a special item, compared with adjusted EPS of $1.17 in first-quarter 2018. Verizon’s first-quarter 2019 EPS included a 2 cent benefit due to a pension re-measurement triggered by the company's Voluntary Separation Program.
In first-quarter 2019, Verizon faced headwinds as a result of a reduction in benefits from the adoption of a revenue recognition standard, primarily due to the deferral of commission expense, and the adoption of a lease accounting standard. The combined impact was a 4 cent year-over-year headwind to EPS.
Consolidated resultsTotal consolidated operating revenues in first-quarter 2019 were $32.1 billion, up 1.1 percent from first-quarter 2018, primarily driven by strong wireless service revenue growth.
Cash flow from operations totaled $7.1 billion in first-quarter 2019, an increase of approximately $400 million year over year. This increase was driven by the continued momentum in Verizon's operating businesses and lower discretionary employee benefits contributions, partially offset by the first -- and largest -- of three payments related to the Voluntary Separation Program.
First-quarter 2019 capital expenditures totaled $4.3 billion. Verizon's capital expenditures continue to support the launch and continued build-out of its 5G Ultra Wideband network, the growth in data and video traffic on the company's 4G LTE network, the deployment of significant fiber in markets nationwide and the upgrade to Verizon's Intelligent Edge Network.
Wireless resultsVerizon reported 61,000 retail postpaid net additions in first-quarter 2019, consisting of 44,000 phone net losses and tablet net losses of 156,000, offset by 261,000 other connected device net additions, primarily wearables. Postpaid smartphone net additions were 174,000.
Total revenues were $22.7 billion, an increase of 3.7 percent year over year, primarily driven by continued strong service revenue performance.
Wireline resultsTotal wireline revenues decreased 3.9 percent year over year in first-quarter 2019 to $7.3 billion, as growth in high-quality fiber products was offset by pricing pressures on legacy products and technology shifts.
Total Fios revenues grew 3.6 percent year over year to $3.1 billion. In first-quarter 2019, Verizon added a net of 52,000 Fios Internet connections and lost a net of 53,000 Fios Video connections, continuing to reflect the shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings.
Wireline operating loss was $88 million in first-quarter 2019, and segment operating loss margin was 1.2 percent. Segment EBITDA (non-GAAP) was $1.5 billion in first-quarter 2019. Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 20.3 percent in first-quarter 2019, compared with 21.2 percent in first-quarter 2018.
Outlook and guidance
Based on the strength of the operational trends in the underlying business, Verizon is raising earnings guidance for full-year 2019:
The company expects low single-digit percentage growth in adjusted EPS, excluding the impact of the new lease accounting standard. This is an increase from prior guidance for 2019 adjusted EPS to be similar to 2018, excluding the impact of the new lease accounting standard.
Verizon also expects the following:
Low single-digit percentage growth in full-year consolidated revenues on a GAAP reported basis.
The effective tax rate for full-year 2019 to be in the range of 24 percent to 26 percent.
Cash taxes to be $2 billion to $3 billion higher than in 2018 due to benefits that were realized in 2018 that are not expected to repeat in 2019.
Capital spending for 2019 to be in the range of $17 billion to $18 billion, including the expanded commercial launch of 5G.