Qwest to shut off its wireless service October 31

A woman leaves a Qwest office building in downtown Denver in this May 3, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Qwest Communications International Inc said on Tuesday that it would discontinue its own-brand wireless service at the end of October and started telling customers they need to switch to another service.

As they struggle with home phone disconnections, operators such as Qwest, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc all provide a combination of cellular and wired home phone services with an aim to encouraging customers to stay longer.

But while its bigger rivals run both wired and wireless networks, Qwest depends on partners to offer mobile services.

Last year it announced plans to exit the Qwest Wireless service, which runs on the Sprint Nextel Corp network, and instead started offering cellular services from Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon and Vodafone Group Plc.

Qwest, which is giving its customers 60-day notice of the service shut-off, said it would not charge early contract termination fees and customers would be able to port their numbers to other providers, such as Verizon Wireless.

The company said that in September and October, Qwest customers making calls will be routed to Qwest customer service representatives to be reminded of the shut-down.

Reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Gerald E. McCormick