Verizon Communications posted a 12 percent increase in revenue on Monday, helped by its purchase of smaller rival Alltel and growth in cell phone customers.

Verizon's profit, excluding noncontrolling interest, rose to $1.65 billion, or 58 cents per share, from $1.64 billion, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier.

Earnings excluding items rose to 63 cents a share from 61 cents, exceeding the analysts' average forecast of 59 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose to $26.59 billion from $23.83 billion.

Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon and Vodafone Group Plc , said it added 1.3 million net new customers in the quarter, compared with the average estimate of 1.2 million from six analysts contacted by Reuters.

Shares of Verizon were down 3.2 percent at $30 in trading before the market opened.

Verizon surpassed AT&T Inc as the biggest U.S. mobile service when it bought Alltel in January.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Sinead Carew; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)