CenturyLink made progress in cutting revenue declines last quarter as it continues to integrate operations from its Qwest and Savvis acquisitions.
The service-provider giant released its third quarter earnings statement Wednesday, noting that revenue was down 1.3 percent compared to the year-ago quarter; that's an improvement, up from a 4.6 percent drop the previous year. Operating revenues were $4.57 billion, which CenturyLink says was in line with expectations.
The company added 44,000 high-speed Internet customers, raising its total to 5.8 million.
Particularly strong was the Enterprise Markets-Network segment, which saw revenues climb by 7.2 percent over Q3 2011, driven by high-bandwidth offerings such as MPLS and Ethernet services.
"Our Enterprise Markets-Network team achieved recurring revenue growth for the third straight quarter driven by solid customer retention and the increasing revenue contribution from enterprise customers added earlier this year. We continue to see strong demand for network services from enterprise customers as we recorded solid quarterly bookings and exited the quarter with a strong sales funnel," said Glen F. Post, III, CenturyLink's chief executive officer and president.
The data hosting side of the enterprise markets division – primarily Savvis operations, including colocation and managed hosting – also showed growth, with revenues up 8.1 percent from the year-ago quarter.
The company also achieved free cash flow of $905 million, excluding special items and integration-related capital expenditures.
"CenturyLink's third quarter results reflect our continued progress toward top line revenue stabilization, successful integration of the Qwest and Savvis operations and alignment of our operating costs with our revenue and growth opportunities," Post added.