Verizon Communications' quarterly profit and revenue were slightly behind Wall Street's expectations, sending the company's shares down more than 1 percent, even as it reported stronger-than-expected wireless subscriber growth.

For the quarter just ahead of its launch of the Apple Inc iPhone, Verizon Wireless, Verizon's venture with Vodafone Group Plc, added 872,000 contract customers, compared with an average expectation for more than 646,0000 from eight analysts contacted by Reuters.

Verizon's profit rose to $4.65 billion, or 93 cents per share, from $2.37 billion, or 22 cents per share, a year earlier.

But excluding unusual items, earnings per share were 54 cents, just below the average estimate of 55 cents from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/.

Revenue fell 2.6 percent to $26.4 billion from the year-earlier quarter before the company sold off rural telephone lines in 14 states. Analysts were expecting $26.48 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Verizon shares fell 1.3 percent to $34.78 in trading before the market opened.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Derek Caney and Lisa Von Ahn)