Qwest fight back with new service offering
Denver — DENVER (AP) Qwest Communications is countering a price war among major telephone carriers with a combination offer of Internet access and long distance to residential customers.
On Monday, MCI WorldCom debuted its 5-cent-per-minute promotion.
On Tuesday, Denver-based Qwest said it will sell unlimited dial-up Internet access and 250 minutes of long distance for $24.95 a month.
Discounted long-distance calls aren’t new, but no other carrier is bundling Internet access with voice minutes, said Qwest Vice President John Taylor.
”We’re all about the convergence of voice and data,” so it made sense to offer both for one price, Taylor said.
Some analysts think voice minutes will fall in price to zero as communications companies turn plain old telephone calls into their loss leader.
”I think that will happen several years down the road, when the Internet connection becomes the center of the bundle for consumers,” said Mel Marten of Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis.
Eventually, Marten predicts consumers will buy all their communication products this way.
”Every company is trying to package what they have available,” Marten said.
What Qwest has to sell is capacity on its recently completed nationwide fiber-optic network.
The Steamboat Springs City Council voted, 4-3, to ban disposable plastic bags at Steamboat’s largest grocery stores.