Verizon Communications reported revenue of US$27 billion for the first quarter of 2011, up 0.3 percent from a year earlier, with the company pointing to growth in mobile customers as a cause for optimism.Verizon's net income rose sharply from $2.3 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $3.3 billion in the first quarter of this year, but Verizon also dropped its income tax estimate by more than $1 billion between the two quarters. Verizon reported a one-time tax charge of $1 billion in the first quarter of 2010 related to changes from a new U.S. health care law.Earnings per share were $0.51, meeting the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.The earnings from 2010 included revenue from operations that the company has since sold. Revenue increased by 5.3 percent on a comparable basis.Verizon showed "sustainable, profitable growth" during the quarter, Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg said in a statement.Verizon's mobile division helped drive that growth, the company said. Mobile service revenue was up 6.3 percent and mobile data revenue up 22.3 percent from 2010. Verizon Wireless, which launched Apple's iPhone on its network during the quarter, added 1.8 million customers since the beginning of the year. The company now has 104 million total mobile connections, including 88.4 million retail customers.Verizon's mobile revenue rose 10.2 percent, to $16.9 billion.On the wireline side of Verizon's business, revenue dropped 2.2 percent to $10.1 billion. Verizon added 207,000 Fios broadband customers and 192,000 Fios television customers during the quarter. The company now has 4.3 million Fios broadband and 3.7 million Fios TV customers.After accounting for lower DSL customer numbers, Verizon added 98,000 broadband customers during the quarter. The company has 8.5 million broadband customers, including DSL and Fios.Verizon's wireline division has dropped 16,000 workers, primarily through incentive buyouts, in the past year. The wireline division now has 92,000 employees.Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.