Updated with correction: Qwest, the smallest of the Baby Bells, is shutting down its wireless service. It’s told its customers that they have 60 days to switch to other carriers. All Qwest Wireless services will be done by Oct. 31, 2009, the company said in a statement. (More details here.)
Over a year ago, Denver-based Qwest started re-selling Verizon Wireless service as part of its consumer offering. Prior to that, they were rebranding Sprint service as “Qwest Wireless” and as a result it’s now urging people to switch to Verizon. The two companies had signed the deal because they were going to jointly bid for government contracts.
Back in March 2008, Qwest CEO Ed Mueller told me that, “All we want to do is partner with a national wireless player where we can rebrand and remarket their service to our customer base. We are ambivalent about the technology but we want a partner with retail presence.”
Apparently the customers didn’t get the memo — only a few thousand have signed up. Like many other mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), things have not gone swimmingly for Qwest. At the end of the second quarter, Qwest had 185,000 MVNO customers.
The company had announced plans to shut down its MVNO wireless business along with its second-quarter 2009 earnings announcement. This business brought in less than $10 million in revenues during the period.