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(Adds details from release, background, share movement)
Jan 25 (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc said on Tuesday it added more-than-expected wireless subscribers that pay a monthly bill in the fourth quarter and expects a strong year ahead helped by increased adoption of 5G services.
Verizon has been aggressively expanding its 5G services, exceeding its year-end target for high-bandwidth 5G network nationwide even as the telecom operator sees a delay in deployment of its lower-frequency spectrum impacting flights.
The telecom giant said a third of consumer wireless phone users now possess a 5G-capable device.
The company added 558,000 subscribers in the quarter, above the average estimate of 546,400 from research firm FactSet.
Analysts and investors closely watch the number of new customers who pay a recurring monthly bill, as they are very valuable to the carriers. Verizon's shares were up 0.6%, among the top gainers on S&P 100 index that are trading before the bell.
For 2022, Verizon expects adjusted EPS of $5.40 to $5.55, above analysts' estimates of $5.39. The company forecasts wireless service revenue to grow between 9% and 10% in the year.
The company's total operating revenue was $34.1 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, excluding the sale of Verizon Media, compared with estimates of $34.01 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
While wireless service revenue increased, Verizon noted revenue from legacy wireline products slowed down.
Net income was $4.7 billion, up marginally from a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned $1.31 per share, beating estimates of $1.28.
(Reporting by Richard Rohan Francis and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)