CEO enthused over wholesale
Notebaert tells a telecom conference that wholesale business
is "just as important as retail."
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2006
Qwest's wholesale business
is usually overshadowed by the Denver-based phone company's
retail business, which includes residential customers and
big corporate clients.
On Wednesday, the wholesale segment took center stage.
"Wholesale is just as important as retail," Qwest chief
executive Dick Notebaert said during a keynote speech at a
wholesale telecom-services conference at the Grand Hyatt in
downtown Denver. "It is really critical to our future."
The wholesale business employs about 1,000 people out of a
companywide workforce of roughly 38,000. But it generates
$3.7 billion in revenue annually, about a quarter of Qwest's
total revenue of nearly $14 billion in 2005.
"It's a vital part of the overall revenue stream," Qwest
Wholesale Markets executive vice president Roland Thornton
said in an interview. "We generate a lot of revenue with
Qwest's wholesale business customers include wireless
carriers, local resellers, Internet service providers and
long-distance and international companies.
Thornton believes international and domestic long distance
will be key drivers of growth for the wholesale business.
During his speech, Notebaert also reiterated Qwest's
strategy of reselling DirecTV satellite-TV service rather
than launching a broad and expensive video initiative to
better compete against cable companies such as Comcast.
"Why do we feel that we would have to invest long-term
paybacks when someone else has a product or a service that
we can partner with, add value to and contribute?" Notebaert
said. "We resell DirecTV. We are being very successful at
During a panel discussion following Notebaert's speech,
Broadwing CEO Stephen Courter said the industry is going
through a second wave of consolidation.
The first wave occurred after the Internet bubble burst in
2000 as companies scrambled to avoid bankruptcy.
The second wave is being driven by demand from consumers,
"The customer demand for a converged network ... is driving
us toward this consolidation," Courter said.
Broomfield-based Level 3 Communications announced plans in
October to acquire Broadwing, based in Austin, Texas, for
roughly $1.4 billion.
About 200 industry officials were expected to attend the
two-day conference, which concludes today.
Staff writer Andy Vuong
can be reached at 303-954-1209 or