Verizon, once unstoppable, loses customers to smaller competitors

That's down from $4.43 billion, or $ 1.06 per share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding certain items, Verizon earned 95 cents a share. A Thomson Reuters analysts' aggregate put down a goal of $30.5 billion in revenue.

Ellis said a big customer exodus through the first six weeks of the quarter forced Verizon to go unlimited.

To counter this apparent fall Verizon was quick to point out that its recently launched Unlimited Data Plan "has added 109,000 postpaid connections". MoffettNathanson Research says it's the first-ever lost in that category, which covers phones, tablets, smartwatches and other connections.

Verizon's losses underscore the urgency with which the company must make that evolution as it seeks to diversify beyond its traditional role as a provider of connectivity, said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecom analyst. Analysts were expecting net additions of 222,000, on average.

Verizon helped kick off telecoms earnings season on a sour note this morning with its first quarter results. Investors were not pleased with the news.

Shares of Verizon fell almost 1.5 percent on the news.

Verizon Communications Inc VZ.N on Thursday reported its first-ever quarterly loss of subscribers, even as it offered an unlimited data plan, raising questions on whether the No. 1 US wireless carrier may need a larger acquisition than Yahoo to diversify its business.

Verizon's decision in recent years to give away free tablets as a way to juice subscriber numbers is also coming back to haunt it, as numerous customers who signed up for two-year data plans in exchange for a free tablet aren't renewing their subscriptions. However, before that unlimited plan promo, Verizon lost an approximately 400,000 regular monthly phone customers.

Verizon's stock is now down 10 percent this year while Sprint and T-Mobile are both up.

It is the first time in seven years Verizon has offered unlimited data, which really isn't unlimited.

However after gaining almost 110,000 new customers when the unlimited plans launched, Verizon had a net loss of only 289,000 monthly customers in Q1, according to Ars Technica.

AOL continued its revenue decline with a 4% dip, also driven by a higher percentage of programmatic advertising than anticipated. But Verizon doubled down in 2014 with its $130 billion purchase of Vodafone Group PLC's 45% stake in their Verizon Wireless joint venture. The question now is, "What is the reason behind this loss of customers and the unlimited data plan?"

And Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam further fueled the merger talks earlier this week, saying in an interview with Bloomberg that he'd be open to talks with Disney, Comcast or CBS if the heads of any of those companies gave him a call about a deal.

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