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Qwest Communications International, continued its financial recovery reporting a sharply reduced second-quarter loss, helped by cost cuts and by stronger contributions from its broadband DSL and long-distance operations.

Qwest said its net loss narrowed to $164m or 9 cents a share, from $776m, or 43 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Revenue edged up by 0.8 per cent to $3.47bn from $3.44bn representing the fifth consecutive quarter of stable revenues. Within the total, long-distance revenues grew by 11.5 per cent from a year earlier.

The Denver-based telecommunications group, which earlier this year abandoned a bid battle for MCI, the US long distance carrier, added 68,000 broadband DSL subscribers during the quarter to bring its total to 1.2m – a 40 per cent increase over a year ago. Consumer data and Internet revenues increased by 24 percent year-over-year.

Qwest also added 41,000 long-distance lines to end the period with 4.6m in service, up 14 per cent over a year ago. Long-distance penetration increased to 35 per cent, compared to 29 per cent a year ago while consumer long-distance revenue grew 17 per cent compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, Qwest’s wireless revenues grew by 1.6 per cent to $130m and the group ended the quarter with 744,000 mobile phone subscribers.

These gains helped offset a continued reduction in Qwest’s local telephony business which, like the other regional telecommunications carriers, is in decline because of wireless substitution and the growth of Internet telephony. The number of local phone lines in service dropped by 5 per cent to 15.09m.

Like other phone companies, Qwest has moved to counter customer defections with new bundled phone plans and by cutting costs. The company’s bundle penetration increased to 48 percent in the quarter compared to 42 percent a year ago.

During the quarter, Qwest also cut operating expenses by 15 per cent to $3.2bn and continued to trim its long term debt reducing it to $14.7bn from $15.5bn.

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