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Sprint's signal may be fading with Qwest as Verizon enters partner talks
By Crayton Harrison, Bloomberg News
Denver Post
Wednesday, February 26, 2008

Verizon Communications is in talks to replace Sprint Nextel as the wireless partner of Qwest, according to Verizon executives.

The second-ranked mobile-phone carrier is considering whether to work with Qwest, chief executive Ivan Seidenberg told investors at a closed-door meeting Tuesday in New York.  Spokesman Robert Varettoni confirmed Seidenberg's remarks and declined to comment further.

Qwest, which has resold Sprint's service since 2004, is seeking a new agreement and may replace its current partner, chief executive Edward Mueller said Monday.  Denver-based Qwest, with 824,000 wireless subscribers, wants to sell newer handsets and more data services than its contract with Sprint allows, Mueller said.

Sprint also is in active discussions with Qwest, Sprint spokeswoman Melinda Tiemeyer said.

Sprint lost 1.2 million contract subscribers last year amid complaints of dropped calls and customer-service glitches.  The company had 54 million customers at the end of last year, including Qwest's users.

Verizon, which trails AT&T in total mobile-phone customers, would gain more subscribers by striking an agreement with Qwest.