Verizon Adds 1.5M Subs

2:20 PM -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) reported today that Verizon Wireless , its U.S. joint venture with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), added 1.5 million subscribers in the second quarter this year, bringing its total customer base to 68.7 million. Vodafone's proportionate share of those customers is 30.9 million. (See Vodafone Wobbles on Outlook.)

Vodafone's share price took a beating today, falling 14 percent on the London Stock Exchange , because the mobile operator said the economic downturn was having a bigger impact on revenues than it had previously expected. Specifically, the economic slowdown in Spain was a big factor in a 2.5 percent drop in service revenues in the country and a 0.2 percent decrease in overall European revenues, compared with a year ago.

On the conference call with analysts this morning, outgoing CEO Arun Sarin was asked whether the U.S. economic situation will affect Verizon Wireless in the same way that the Spanish economic woes hit Vodafone. Sarin couldn't say much, because Verizon doesn't report second-quarter results until July 28, but he indicated that Verizon Wireless could be cushioned against such a financial fate.

Sarin offered the following by way of explanation: "Contract customers in the U.S. are different from contract customers in Spain," he said. "Typically, there are longer contract times, which insulates them from what's happening in the U.S. And there's a weak fourth competitor."

Sarin didn't name that weak competitor. T-Mobile US Inc. is the fourth operator in the U.S. in terms of customers, but Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) springs to mind as the operator with a heap of financial troubles on its plate. (See Sprint Bleeds Cellular Customers.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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