March 18, 2008 / 2:32 PM / 11 years ago

Qwest to cut jobs on lower traditional phone use

Facade of Qwest headquarters in downtown Denver, Colorado on May 3, 2005. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. phone company Qwest Communications International Inc Q.N said on Tuesday it was cutting jobs due to a fall in traditional phone customers.

The company, which operates in mostly rural areas, including parts of Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, said it was offering a “voluntary separation program” that would affect less than 2 percent of its work force.

Qwest had about 37,000 employees at the end of 2007.

“Over the years, we have turned first to our natural attrition rate to balance the loss of traditional access lines,” Bob Tregemba, Qwest’s executive vice president of Network Operations, said in a statement.

“This program is part of our continuing effort to match our work force to our work load,” he said.

Denver-based Qwest is suffering from a decline in sales of traditional phone lines and does not have a wireless unit to compensate, unlike the phone industry’s top players, AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N).

Qwest shares rose 7 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $4.57 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by John Wallace

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