Qwest Wireless Ending Service Oct. 31

The former Regional Bell is notifying customers that they need to select a new cell phone provider.
Qwest Communications reported Tuesday that the last of its Qwest Wireless customers will need to shift to another wireless provider by Oct. 31, because Qwest will discontinue the service on that date.

The company's wireless customers are accustomed to changing services -- after Qwest sold off its indigenous wireless service, the customers were shifted to Sprint-based plans in early 2004. But then Qwest switched again, to Verizon Wireless.

In its latest earnings report, Qwest said it had 763,000 wireless customers and of that number, less than one quarter continue to use the old Qwest Wireless. The bulk of the wireless subscribers had signed with Verizon Wireless.

"Qwest is an authorized agent for Verizon Wireless," Qwest said in a statement, saying that its customers who switch to Verizon Wireless would receive combined billing statements and special handset offers. Qwest also noted that subscribers can port their existing wireless phone number to a new phone and service provider.

Beginning in September, when Qwest Wireless customers make a phone call with their handsets, they will first be routed to a customer service representative who will remind them that they need to select a new service provider.

Qwest is the smallest of the remaining three former Regional Bell Operating Companies -- AT&T and Verizon are the other two -- and serves a largely rural landline customer base.

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