Verizon’s FiOS TV: Can You Hear Us Now?

Verizon on Monday said it added 299,000 new FiOS TV subscribers in the first quarter of 2009, bringing the telco’s total sub count to 2.22 million.

Since launching the wireline-TV service in August 2004, Verizon has shot up to ninth place among all cable and satellite operators, and is on course to pass Bright House Networks for the #8 spot later this year.

In the past 12 months, Verizon has added 1.01 million new FiOS TV subs, an increase of 84 percent. Penetration is now nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the 9.7 million homes passed.

Verizon chief financial officer John Killian said the company will continue expanding its footprint, with plans to enter the Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia markets later in the year.

While the last several months have given rise to speculation that Verizon is looking to wrest the iPhone service-provider contract away from AT&T, president and COO Denny Strigl said the telco had “no announcements to make relative to Apple,” before adding that Verizon is “always open to talking to suppliers.”

Apple’s current arrangement with AT&T expires in 2010. AT&T chief financial officer Rick Lindner last week said the company “continue[s] to have a very good relationship with Apple and … we are thrilled to have their product as part of our line up.”

AT&T is also making headway with its pay-TV service, adding 284,000 U-Verse TV subs in the first quarter. All told, AT&T serves 1.33 million TV subs, making it the twelfth-largest distributor in the U.S.