Qwest Future Questioned if Long-Haul Sale Materializes

Finally, someone is asking the question that’s likely on a lot of peoples’ minds: What will happen to Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q) if it succeeds in selling its long-haul network?

Several theories are making the telecom industry rumor rounds.

One is that, without its long-distance assets, Qwest would once again become a domestic and regional carrier. Such status would inhibit its growth prospects to a serious degree, however.

Another speculation is Qwest would target just a few population centers with its Internet and local phone service. If that scenario arose, Qwest also might continue to resell satellite TV and wireless.

Next, some analysts posit that if Qwest sells its long-haul network, the move would invite buyers and the company probably would die out.

Of course, Qwest also could buy more assets in densely populated areas so it could own local lines for less and reap more profit.

Finally, some observers say, Qwest could sell its phone lines in less-populated markets – Verizon has done this – and pay down debt.

There’s no indication what Qwest might do, though – the company has not publicly confirmed it’s trying to sell its long-distance fiber.

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