Qwest spent another quarter getting itself gussied up for its impending merger, expanding its fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) infrastructure to reach one-quarter of its total residential broadband base, finally hitting a debt reduction goal and generally improving its revenue stance.
The company reported an overall loss of $161 million. Revenue was down 3.2 percent, to $2.9 billion, but the company expressed satisfaction with revenue trends.
A year ago, Qwest embarked on a one-year program to retire $3.5 billion in debt; it said it achieved its goal in the fourth quarter.
Qwest said it added 92,000 FTTN subscribers in its fourth quarter, ending the period with 713,000 FTTN subscribers. That’s 25 percent of its total broadband subscriber base of 2.9 million at the end of the fourth quarter. The company said its gain of 92,000 FTTN subs was offset by a decline of 77,000 ATM-based DSL subscribers.
Verizon Wireless customers sold by and/or billed by Qwest reached 1.1 million, increasing 42,000 from the end of the third quarter. Total DirecTV video subscribers increased 40,000 in the quarter and now exceed 1 million.
The company’s residential segment, which it calls Mass Markets, collected a revenue total of $1.1 billion, down 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009; it was also down 1 percent sequentially.
Capital expenditures requiring cash were $398 million for the quarter and $1.5 billion for the full year. The company financed $192 million of additional capital investment through leasing in 2010, including $87 million in the fourth quarter. Capital investment in the quarter was focused on key strategic projects, including broadband services and fiber-based initiatives.
Last April, CenturyLink announced its intention to buy Qwest, a transaction treated as a merger. Qwest said that the two companies expect to close the deal this upcoming April 1.
Separately, CenturyLink signed on to become an authorized agent of Verizon Wireless, and as such will be able to also offer Verizon Wireless equipment and service plans to its residential and small business customers.
In addition, CenturyLink customers will have access to Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network.
Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.