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Qwest has posted a $310m loss for the first quarter, ended 31 March, its eleventh consecutive quarterly loss. But the US telco thinks things are getting better.

The company lost $310m on turnover of $3.48bn, down 3.9 per cent on the same period last year. It says that losses are levelling off after losing 5.6 per cent of revenue in the last quarter of 2003. It forecasts this trend may give Qwest full year revenue growth.

Richard Notebaert, chairman and CEO, said: "Record gains in DSL and long-distance are evidence that we are giving customers what they want. We also continue to see positive momentum in the enterprise space ...And, we will continue to assert our leadership in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive marketplace, as we have with VoIP and naked DSL."

Improvements were driven by DSL and long distance lines. The company signed up 1.2m long-distance lines in the quarter. It also signed 1,800 contracts with enterprise customers for bundled long-distance and IP services. It also signed agreements with big customers including John Deere, State of California, the US Air Force and the University of Tennessee. Qwest also signed up over 100,000 new DSL customers, up from 60,000 in the last quarter of 2003.

But total access lines were down one per cent on last quarter and Qwest lost 97,000 primary consumer access lines - better than the 169,000 lines it lost in the fourth quarter of 2003. ®

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