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Verizon earnings beat analyst expectations and revenue projections for its second quarter, helping the company's stock bounce back from a disappointing year as the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier attracted more subscribers with its unlimited data plan.

Verizon has been competing for customers with smaller rivals T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. in a flooded U.S. market for wireless service as most consumers already own mobile smartphones.

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Q2 Earnings Report

Total operating revenue in the second quarter was $30.5 billion, modestly up from $30.53 the year-earlier period and topping Wall Street consensus estimates of $29.9 billion. On a comparable basis, excluding divestitures and acquisitions, Verizon consolidated revenue declined by 2.0%. The company posted adjusted earnings of 96 cents per share, compared with 94 cents in the year-ago quarter and in line with expectations. Shares of the company were up nearly 8 percent on Thursday, cutting its year-to-date drop to a decline of 12 percent.

Also in the quarter, Verizon added 614,000 subscribers who pay a monthly bill, including tablet customers, including 358,000 phone additions, compared to an increase of 615,000 in the year-earlier period, which additions were higher than the JPMorgan estimate of 115,000 and consensus expectations of 70,000.

"Verizon reignited its growth engine in the quarter, both adding and retaining wireless customers while scaling our media business and continuing to invest in our superior networks," CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement.

However, despite subscriber wins in Q2, total wireless revenue slumped by 1.9 percent to $21.28 billion, compared to $21.70 billion in the year-ago quarter. The carrier attributed the decline to lost average revenue but said it is justifying the lost revenue as some customers create new accounts or move to unlimited plans. 

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Unlimited Data Plans

Verizon's second-quarter earnings represented the first full quarter that it offered unlimited data plans. Back in February, Verizon reintroduced an unlimited data plan for the first time in more than five years. It started selling such plans during the first quarter.

On Thursday, the company reported that its introduction of unlimited data plans increased LTE network usage year over year as service revenue was down 6.7 percent to $15.6 billion. Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis attributed some of the decreases to overage fee losses as more customers upgrade to unlimited plans. Verizon added 633,000 wireless customers, up from 585,000.

"As expected, the introduction of the unlimited pricing plan increased the LTE network usage as our customers enjoy the experience of consuming more data throughout the day on the industry-leading wireless network," Ellis said on an earnings call.

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