Qwest Communications International said May 5 it had signed a five-year agreement with Verizon Wireless to market and sell Verizon Wireless service beginning the summer of 2008. The companies also announced that they will work together on bidding for enterprise and government wireless contracts and will collaborate in the development of converged services.
The deal fundamentally changes how Qwest provides wireless services to its customers from its current wholesale model to an agency relationship. According to Qwest, the deal is similar in structure to the company’s current arrangement with DirecTV. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Under the agreement, Qwest customers will have access to all Verizon Wireless handsets, smart phones and BlackBerry devices, as well as high-speed broadband wireless services for e-mail, Internet access and multimedia services. Residential customers will be able to choose wireless-only plans and be billed directly by Verizon Wireless.
Residential customers will also have the option of including Verizon Wireless service as part of a Qwest bundle that includes land-line and broadband service and receiving one bill from Qwest for all services. “Qwest’s strategies for success certainly will benefit from this deal and we look forward to a solid relationship with Verizon Wireless,” Qwest Chairman and CEO Ed Mueller said in a statement.
In a joint statement with Mueller, Verizon Wireless President and CEO Lowell McAdam added, “The quality and reliability of our network, coupled with our broadband capabilities, leading lineup of advanced communications devices and reputation for customer satisfaction will make a huge difference in their [Qwest customers’] wireless experience.”
Qwest residential customers will be able to buy Verizon Wireless products and services through Qwest’s call centers, retail stores and kiosks and online at Qwest.com.