Good News In Telecom? Get Outta Town!



Telecom and broadband company Qwest Communications International Inc. has what passes nowadays for novel news: It will meet Wall Street's earnings expectations. This stands in contrast to recent earnings warnings from AT&T, WorldCom, and SBC Communications.

In an effort to halt the slide in his company's stock price, Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio told reporters Thursday the telco could even beat expectations. The nation's fourth-largest long-distance carrier saw its share price drop more than $8 this week and close Wednesday only a fraction above its 52-week low. Nacchio's plan seems to have worked, at least for now. Following his media conference, Qwest's stock shot up 15.64% for the day, to $37.44.

"It's unfortunate that there are a lot of what I call 'extraneous agendas' being played, and a lot of things being blamed on the industry," Nacchio said. "AT&T talked about industrywide pricing problems. I think that's a little bit in the eye of the beholder." Nacchio said Qwest is enjoying improving service levels, orders, and revenue.

"I think the AT&T and WorldCom and Sprint case is clearly a function of the long-distance oligopoly breaking down," he said, "as a result of new sizable competitors such as Qwest being able to compete very effectively across their customer base with newer products, newer technology, and lower costs."

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