Blog Post

Qwest to Shut Down Wireless Service

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 (s FON) 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.

3 Responses to “Qwest to Shut Down Wireless Service”

  1. Joe Qwest

    It’s Nov 1, 2009, my wireless qwest phones still work. Qwet lied!!!!!!!!!! They have a contractual obligation to keep the service on.hahahahahahaha to all you suckers who switched because qwest call and convinced you to switch.

  2. Jesse Kopelman

    Are you sure Qwest is smaller than Cincinnati Bell? Whether it is bigger or smaller (I think smaller) CB does have its own wireless network . . .

  3. Having worked for US West before they merged with Qwest, the biggest strategic mistake that US West/Qwest – the smallest of the regional bell operators – ever made was selling off its wireless business (then US West New Vector) to Airtouch.

    The divesture came just as the world was starting to go mobile, and Qwest is now is basically a bunch of dark fiber and landline phones at this point. Great if this was the year 1999, but they have zero mobile play at this point.

    If they had to do it all over again, they should have let Sol Trujillo continue to run the company and let him push into fiber/IPTV and mobile broadband.