Verizon Communications Inc posted strong first quarter growth in wireless subscribers helped by sales of the Apple Inc iPhone.

Verizon earnings rose to $1.44 billion, or 51 cents per share from $443 million, or 16 cents per share in the same quarter a year before. Revenue rose to $26.99 billion from $26.91 billion in the year ago quarter.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Derek Caney)