Verizon Communications on Monday posted a third quarter profit that fell more than 9 percent but was slightly ahead of analyst estimates and it added more wireless customers than expected.

Verizon Wireless helped offset weakness in its traditional phone business where customers are disconnecting home phones.

Profit fell to $2.89 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $3.2 billion, or 59 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, earnings were 60 cents per share, compared with the average analyst estimate of 59 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 10.2 percent to $27.27 billion from $24.75 billion in the year-earlier quarter, helped by its purchase earlier this year of rural mobile operator Alltel.

Analysts had expected revenue of $27.17 billion. On a pro forma basis, as if Verizon had owned Alltel last year, revenue would have risen 0.6 percent.

Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon and Vodafone Group Plc , added 1.2 million net new subscribers in the quarter compared with the average analyst estimate for 1 million, according to five analysts contacted by Reuters.

In comparison AT&T Inc added 2 million customers, as Apple Inc's iPhone helped it take market share from Verizon. Both companies depend on wireless and high-speed Internet services for growth.

Verizon's Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg said that the company would improve with the economy.

Shares fell 30 cents, or 1 percent, to $28.55 in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Derek Caney)