Qwest dropping Sprint, going mobile with Verizon
Beginning this summer, Qwest Communications will cease to private-label cellular service from Sprint and will begin to resell Verizon Wireless’ mobile services.
Eventually, Qwest will be able to bundle the Verizon Wireless services on a single bill. Neither company said whether Qwest will be able to offer bundle pricing discounts.
Once the two companies connect their billing systems, Qwest mobile residential subscribers will have the option to continue to be billed directly by Verizon Wireless.
Although both Sprint and Verizon Wireless operate CDMA EV-DO networks, current Qwest customers will still have to exchange handsets.
The two companies said that subscribers will have access to the full line of Verizon Wireless handsets, smartphones and BlackBerry devices, as well as high-speed broadband wireless services for e-mail, Internet access and multimedia services.
In addition, the companies will work together on bidding for enterprise and government wireless contracts and collaborate in the development of converged services, such as a unified voicemail box for mobile and landline, as well as integration of Qwest’s IP networking solutions with Verizon Wireless’ mobile data network for business and government customers.
Qwest’s shift from Sprint Nextel comes at a time when Sprint is believed to be considering several transformative moves. Sprint is said to be discussing a WiMAX networking deal with Clearwire, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel and Google.
Sprint is also said to be considering spinning Nextel back out; it acquired Nextel in 2005. At the same time, there are published rumors that Deutsche Telekom would be interested in buying all or part of Sprint Nextel (story here).
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