Verizon was in the game this holiday season with some stepped up promotional activity, but Wells Fargo isn’t optimistic the fruits of that effort will help the carrier overcome fourth quarter headwinds in other areas.
The financial firm on Wednesday dropped its estimates for both Verizon’s postpaid net additions and handset net additions, lowering the former from 856,000 to 715,000 and slashing the latter from 180,000 to just 57,000. Wells Fargo also revised its revenue forecast for 2016 downward slightly from $125.7 billion to $125.3 billion.
According to Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche, Verizon did participate in “elevated promotional activity” this quarter, especially around Thanksgiving and the week leading up to Christmas with its offer of a “free” iPhone 7 with an eligible trade in. But while Fritzsche observed the promotions should “support solid smartphone net additions,” she noted many of those gains will be offset by basic phone losses and tablet churn.
The changes for Verizon came the same day Wells Fargo dropped its net add forecast for Sprint, citing seasonal churn and “more aggressive competitive offerings.” Fritzsche said the firm is now predicting Sprint will bring in 350,000 postpaid net additions, down from its previous estimate of 450,000. BTIG a week prior also lowered its Sprint forecast, slashing its postpaid net add estimates from 638,000 to just 372,000.