Verizon’s Vestberg says 3Q wireless net adds will be negative again

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg insists that the wireless operator is in the midst of a comeback but warned that when the company reports its third quarter 2022 results its wireless postpaid net adds will likely still be on the decline. Verizon’s consumer segment reported a loss of 215,000 wireless postpaid phone net adds in 2Q. “On the consumer side we will still have negative net adds in the quarter but there will be an improvement,” he said.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference 2022, Vestberg also said that Verizon’s churn is also on the rise in response to the price hikes in some of the company’s rate plans. However, he added that he believes churn will normalize in the fourth quarter.

Nevertheless, Vestberg stands behind the company’s turnaround strategy when it comes to the consumer wireless business. That strategy relies upon addressing each market segment with “surgical” precision and providing lots of options. As an example, he pointed to the company’s newly launched Welcome Unlimited plan that costs $65 per month for a single line when consumers bring their own device.

Vestberg insisted that things are turning around for the operator because it is seeing more traffic in its retail stores. “It’s working,” he said, but when asked if the Welcome Unlimited plan was the primary impetus behind the increase in store traffic he would only say that it was “one of the drivers.”

Another potential driver, Vestberg said, is the company’s new Verizon One Unlimited for iPhone —a premium plan that the operator debuted in conjunction with Apple’s new iPhone 14 launch. The plan costs $90 per month for one line and bundles in Apple One services, which includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud+.  He said that the goal with this type of plan is to make existing customers loyal and also attract new customers.

Plus, more consumer offerings are in the works. +Play, the content hub that Verizon first talked about last March at the company’s Investor Day event, will roll out in the fourth quarter and into the first quarter, Vestberg said.  +Play is intended to make it easier for consumers to manage their content subscriptions on one platform.

New prepaid products in the works

In addition, he hinted the company will soon be launching new prepaid products and services through its Tracfone subsidiary. He said that the company is on track with its integration of Tracfone, which it acquired in November 2021. “We are excited to use the platform to launch into value segments,” Vestberg said. “You will probably see new products in the value segment,” he added, noting that the company has been retooling its back-office systems to better serve all the Tracfone brands.

On the enterprise side, he said that Verizon Business is seeing growth from small and medium businesses that want to digitalize their businesses. Interestingly, he also said that a new trend is developing where enterprises that in past allowed employees to use their own devices for their work are now rethinking that strategy and, in some cases, providing phones for their employees again because of security concerns. “That’s a good opportunity for us,” he said.