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Qwest Switches From Sprint To Verizon For Cell Phone Service

The deal is a blow to Sprint Nextel, which had been supplying the service to Qwest customers after the company sold off its own wireless service a few years ago.

W. David Gardner

May 6, 2008

1 Min Read

Qwest Communications International will begin offering Verizon Wireless handsets and services beginning this summer under a five-year agreement. The deal is a blow to Sprint Nextel, which had been supplying the service to Qwest customers after the Denver-based company sold off its own wireless service a few years ago.

A spokeswoman for Qwest said the company will work with Verizon Wireless to develop new products and services "that take advantage of the convergence of Qwest's landline network with Verizon Wireless' wireless network."

Qwest customers will be able to purchase the service separately or as a piece of a bundle of services from Qwest. Verizon Wireless, which is an equity partnership between Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, will make its full line of handsets available to subscribers.

In August 2003, Qwest signed with Sprint to provide cell phone service after Qwest, which had been under financial pressure in the wake of the bursting of the technology bubble, sold off its own mobile phone operation. The Sprint service will continue until February, although users can sign up for the Verizon service before that.

Sprint and Verizon Wireless utilize the same CDMA infrastructure and that may facilitate the transfer.

Residential customers who sign up for separate wireless services will be billed directly by Verizon, while subscribers choosing wireless as part of a Qwest bundle of services will be billed by Qwest.

Qwest said it will work with Verizon Wireless to bid for enterprise and government wireless contracts while also collaborating on the development of converged services. Last year, Qwest and Verizon won pieces of the federal government's $48 billion Networx contract.

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