Qwest Explained

Qwest Communications International, Inc
Founder:Phillip Anschutz
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Key People:Edward Mueller (Chairman, CEO)
John Richardson (CFO)
Thomas Richards (COO)
Market Cap: US$12,528,902,900 (2007)
Revenue: US$13,778,000,000 (2007)
Operating Income: US$1,730,000,000 (2007)
Net Income: US$2,917,000,000 (2007)
Assets: US$22,532,000,000 (2007)
Equity: US$563,000,000 (2007)
Num Employees:36,519 (2007)

Qwest Communications is a large telecommunications carrier. Qwest provides local service in 14 western U.S. states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Qwest provides voice, backbone data services, and digital television in some areas. It operates in three segments: Wireline Services, Wireless Services, and Other Services. The Wireline Services segment provides local voice, long distance voice, and data and Internet (DSL) services to consumers, businesses, and wholesale customers, as well as access services to wholesale customers. The Wireless Services segment is achieved by a partnership with Verizon Wireless. Qwest also partners with DirecTV to provide digital television service to its customers. In Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City,Boise, and Omaha, Qwest offers Qwest Choice TV. The Other Services segment primarily involves the sublease of real estate assets, such as space in office buildings, warehouses, and other properties.

Qwest Communications also provides long-distance services and broadband data, as well as voice and video communications globally. The company sells its products and services to small businesses, governmental entities, and public and private educational institutions through various channels, including direct-sales marketing, telemarketing, arrangements with third-party agents, company’s Web site, and partnership relations. As of September 13, 2005, Qwest had 98 retail stores in 14 states. Qwest Communications is headquartered in Denver, Colorado at 1801 California Street, in the 2nd tallest building in Denver at 53 stories. The majority of Qwest occupational or non-management employees are represented by two labor unions; the Communications Workers of America and in Montana, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Qwest also has a state-of-the-art development center in Bangalore, India called Qwest Software Services.


Founded in 1996 by Philip Anschutz, Qwest began in an unconventional way. Anschutz, who owned the Southern Pacific Railroad at the time, began installing the first all-digital, fiber-optic infrastructure along his railroad lines and connecting them into central junctions in strategic locations to serve businesses with high-speed data and T1 services. In 1998, the Southern Pacific Railroad was merged into the Union Pacific, in which Qwest gained access to UP's railroad lines to lay fiber-optic cable for its telecom network. At that time Anshutz had a contract with MCI to lay nationwide fiber for them along the railway lines, he took advantage of this situation and laid his own fiber along with that of MCI.

Qwest Communications grew aggressively, acquiring internet service provider SuperNet in 1997, followed by the acquisition of LCI, a low cost long distance carrier (located in Dublin, Ohio and McLean, Virginia) in 1998, and followed again by the acquisition of Icon CMT, a web hosting provider, also in 1998. This launched Qwest as not only a provider of high speed data to the niche market of corporate customers, but also a quick-growing residential and business long distance customer base that it quickly merged into its data service.

Qwest merged with "Baby Bell" US West on June 30, 2000 through an apparent hostile takeover. (See article on US West for more information); Philip Anschutz owns 17.5% of the resulting company.

As a condition of this merger, Qwest had to spin off its long distance operations actually located within the Bell Operating Company boundaries of Qwest Corporation. The resulting company was named Touch America, Inc.

One of the historically significant mass complaints regarding Qwest involved allegations that the then-long-distance-only company switched local telephone service customers over to Qwest's long-distance service without their permission, an illegal practice known as slamming. In July 2000, Qwest paid a $1.5 million fine to the Federal Communications Commission to resolve slamming complaints. In April 2001, they paid a $350,000 fine to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection after the state cited them for deceptive advertising and slamming practices.[2] The company's settlements included a requirement that all of its sales employees sign a pledge stating that slamming was barred-and conditions for dismissal from Qwest employment.

The company was also involved in accounting scandals, and was recently fined $250 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to be split into two $125 million payments due to the poor state of Qwest's current financial health. Among the transactions in question were a series of deals from 1999-2001 with Enron's broadband division which may have helped Enron conceal losses. In 2005, former Chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio, former President and COO Afshin Mohebbi and seven other former Qwest employees have been accused of fraud in a civil lawsuit filed by the SEC. Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty was accused but later cleared of accepting bribes from Qwest. Separately, Nacchio was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading in Qwest stock on April 19, 2007.[3]

In May 2007, the telecommunications sector as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scored Qwest and Verizon with increases to 72, but Cox dropped six points to 70 and AT&T (70) and Comcast fell to 67.[4] [5]

Qwest's original slogan was "Ride The Light", which was meant to portray the company as technologically advanced. In 2002, Richard C. Notebaert, who took over as CEO that year, introduced the "Spirit of Service" campaign which promotes the company as being refocused on customer satisfaction.

In 2004, Qwest became the first Regional Bell operating company (RBOC) in the United States to offer Standalone DSL (also known as Naked DSL), i.e. DSL Internet service that does not require the customer to have local landline phone service.

Around 1999 SBC was first to offer naked DSL in the 5 state Ameritech region. The merger between SBC and Ameritech formed Ameritech Advanced Data Services, Inc or SBC Advanced Solutions, Inc.

Qwest also offers a cable system in Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Omaha. This service is called Qwest Choice TV. As of October 2008, Qwest Choice TV customers were in the process of being migrated to DirecTV.

Since 2002, The NewsMarket has utilized Qwest for its hosting space. [6]

NSA spying

In May 2006, USA Today reported that millions of telephone calling records had been handed over to the United States National Security Agency by AT&T Corp., Verizon, and BellSouth since September 11, 2001. This data has been used to create a database of all international and domestic calls. Qwest was allegedly the lone holdout, despite threats from the NSA that their refusal to cooperate may jeopardize future government contracts,[7] a decision which has earned them praise from those who oppose the NSA program.[8]

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on August 17, 2006 ruled that the government's domestic eavesdropping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately. The Bush Administration has filed an appeal in the case which has yet to be heard in court.[9]

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, who was convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[10]

A social media experiment and website covering the Qwest holdout, Thank you Qwest dot Org, built by Netherlands-based Webmaster Richard Kastelein and American Expatriate Journalist Chris Floyd, was covered by the CNN Situation Room,[11] USA Today,[12] New York Times,[13] [14] International Herald Tribune,[15] Denver Post,[16] [17] News.com, [18] and the Salt Lake Tribune [19]

Qwest Communications Corporation

Qwest Communications Corporation is a long distance subsidiary of Qwest that was, until 1995, known as Southern Pacific Telecommunications Company. Qwest Communications made an agreement with CSX in which it could use its railines as a right-of-way for a fiber-optic system. Qwest Communications International, the holding company, took the slogan Ride the Light as a result of this.

Namesake buildings

Qwest currently owns the naming rights to the following buildings:

See also


External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Qwest Communications International, Inc.. Google Finance. 2008-08-07.
  2. News: Qwest to pay fine for slamming. 2001-04-27. Denver Business Journal. 2008-08-07.
  3. News: Ex-Chief at Qwest Found Guilty of Insider Trading. Frosch. Dan. New York Times. 2007-04-20. 2008-08-07.
  4. News: Qwest and Verizon rate high in customer satisfaction survey. Staff. 2007-05-21. New Mexico Business Weekly. 2008-08-07.
  5. Web site: Customer Satisfaction Growth Slows, Many Companies Struggle to Keep Up. PDF. Butsunturn. Chaat. Courtney Porter. 2007-05-15. 2008-08-07.
  6. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2095009 Qwest and The NewsMarket Strengthen Ties
  7. News: NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls. 2006-05-11. Cauley. Leslie. USA Today. 2008-08-07.
  8. News: Qwest defies NSA. Rocky Mountain News. Smith. Jeff. 2006-05-12. 2008-08-07.
  9. News: NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional. Mears. Bill. Andrea Koppel. CNN. 2006-08-17. 2008-08-07.
  10. News: Nacchio says feds punished Qwest: report. 2007-10-13. MarketWatch.
  11. News: Surrounding NSA Tracking of Phone Calls. CNN Situation Room. Blitzer. Wolf. 2006-05-12. 2008-08-07.
  12. News: Phone companies' customers offer their take on assisting NSA. 2005-05-15. Armour. Stephanie. USA Today. 2008-10-20.
  13. News: Qwest Goes From the Goat to the Hero. 2005-05-15. Zellor. Tom. New York Times. 2008-10-20.
  14. News: Qwest's Ex-Chief Is Suddenly Cast as Defender of Privacy. 2005-05-15. Belson. Ken. New York Times. 2008-10-20.
  15. News: Qwest achieves some customer respect. 2005-05-15. Zellor. Tom. International Herald Tribune. 2008-10-20.
  16. News: Qwest Stand Wins Praise. 2005-05-15. Denver Post. 2008-10-20.
  17. News: Qwest Finds Favor over NSA Flap. 2005-05-15. Denver Post. 2008-10-20.
  18. News: Qwest's ex-chief suddenly cast as privacy defender. 2005-05-15. Zellor. Tom. News.com. 2008-10-20.
  19. News: Phone Snoop Creates Uproar. 2005-05-15. Oberbeck. Steven. Salt Lake Tribune. 2008-10-20.