The Association of U S West Retirees



NTS Communications shuts local office, knocks Qwest
by Kelly Koepke
New Mexico Business Weekly
Friday, March 17, 2006

NTS Communications Inc. will shut its Albuquerque regional office on March 31 and is blaming its departure on an inability to provide customers with local telephone service.

The six-person Albuquerque office, located at 4501 Indian School NE, sold Toshiba telephone systems and provided long distance service to approximately 1100 customers in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona.  NTS has no other locations in the state.

"The only way for NTS to survive in the state was to offer local service, and it wasn't affordable to do so.  At present, the Albuquerque office is the only one closing," says Bob Herrington, regional manager for the New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona area.

Glen Lake, sales director in the company's Lubbock, Texas headquarters, says that with the intense competition in long distance and Internet service, and the inability to work with New Mexico's largest carrier, Qwest Communications, to affordably offer local dial tone, it was impossible for NTS to make a profit.

Qwest spokesperson Claire Mylott says she cannot comment on NTS or any other specific customer, but that Qwest seeks to sell its local phone services as a wholesale product and not just directly to retail customers.  Mylott says numerous other retailers have had no problems buying and reselling Qwest's local phone services.

According to Lake, one NTS employee will work out of his home in Albuquerque until the company is able to transition all of its current customers to the Lubbock customer care department.  Lake says NTS serves about 1,000 mainly residential customers in the state, and about 150 businesses.

New Mexico telephone system and long distance customers of NTS include Prudential Santa Fe Real Estate, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors and El Castillo Retirement Center in Santa Fe.  Long distance customers include Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Zangara Dodge, the city of Portales, the city of Clovis, and Fort Bliss.  Business customers will be transitioned to the Lubbock office immediately and will see no interruption in service, Lake says.

NTS Communications was founded in 1981 as a West Texas reseller of long distance services.  It serves about 70,000 customers in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.  The company offered Albuquerque its dial-up Internet service until 2005.

In 1996, NTS purchased Midcom of Arizona, which launched a series of business acquisitions to expand the company's retail sales operations.  In 1997, NTS purchased Hi-Plains NTS to expand its operations in the Amarillo and Albuquerque markets.  The Albuquerque office opened in 1989.