05:35 PM

Verizon Wireless Adds 1.5 Million Subscribers, Vodafone Issues Warning

Verizon's pending merger with Alltel is expected to add another 13.2 million customers, which will likely bring Verizon's total subscriber base to 80 million.

Verizon Wireless reported that it has added 1.5 million subscribers, bringing its total subscriber base to 68.7 million. The good news, however, was tempered by a report Tuesday from its equity partner Vodafone Group, which said it expected its worldwide revenue to drop.

Verizon Wireless and rival AT&T have been in a subscriber horserace for several months with AT&T, securing 71.4 million customers. However, Verizon's pending merger with Alltel is expected to add another 13.2 million customers -- a move that will likely bring Verizon's total subscriber base to 80 million.

AT&T has been adding new subscribers at a rapid clip because of its exclusive deal to market Apple's iPhone.

Late last year, AT&T added 1.7 million wireless subscribers when it acquired Dobson Communications.

While Verizon Wireless and AT&T have been adding subscribers, third-largest cell phone service provider Sprint Nextel has been losing customers, although Sprint has been showing signs of stabilizing in recent weeks. The fourth-largest wireless firm, T-Mobile, has been adding customers, but it trails the other providers by a sizable margin.

Also on Tuesday, Verizon Wireless' 45% equity partner Vodafone trimmed its revenue predictions, sending many telecom stocks into a tailspin; until the announcement from Vodafone, the largest global wireless provider, the telecom sector was viewed by many as being resistant to the economic downturn that has been spreading in recent months.

"We are beginning to see an impact from the current economic environment which is greater than we expected," said Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin, according to media reports. Vodafone's results were hardest hit in its Spanish unit.

Verizon Wireless' financial results aren't expected to be revealed until Monday when Verizon Communications is slated to release its second-quarter results.

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