Telecom Timeout

Jun 8 2009   1:30PM GMT

Qwest’s LD network: Flat-lining on the selling block

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Last week Qwest’s long-distance business was for sale. This week it’s not. Such is the way of plummeting long-distance values and another chapter in the saga of the number-three U.S. phone company.

There was a time long ago and far away that Qwest’s nationwide IP network was the envy of the industry. But when Qwest then bought regional Bell company US West to create a full-service traditional-ish carrier, it never regained its former glory.

Qwest put the long-distance piece on the block last week for $3 billion and got tepid interest at half that amount. So off the block it came. There was some discount-level interest from Level 3 Communications, as well as XO Communications and TW Telecom, but none of those companies is looking for a full-price investment. It’s bargain basement or nothing.

“The bids were so far below the level they wanted. Their problem is that they may not be able to monetize the long-distance network (which serves enterprise and government customers) even to the level of competing with a bid of half their goal,” according to CIMI President Tom Nolle.
According to the Wall Street Journal:

Qwest’s long-distance business has struggled as an excess of capacity of long-haul networks has led to a collapse in pricing. Meanwhile, in its 14-state local access territory, Qwest is facing increasing competition from cable providers.

When US West was new and full of itself, it’s slogan was “If you don’t make dust, you eat dust.” Guess it’s time to eat dust.

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