Qwest gains from tax help

Qwest Communications today became the latest major telco and third former Bell company to announce third-quarter earnings, posting a whopping $2.07 billion in net income versus $194 million for the same quarter last year, but don't get too excited. The quarter included a one-time tax gain of $2.1 billion and a one-time charge against earnings of about $353 million.

Other than that, Qwest saw many of the same trends during the quarter other telcos have reported: Residential access lines were down 7.2% to 13 million, local voice and long-distance revenues declined, total video subscribers were up 81%, revenue from data, Internet and video services was up 9.6%, and bundle penetration moved from 56% up to 61%.

New Qwest CEO Edward Mueller has made a few moves in his top management ranks, but hasn't done much else yet to change Qwest's course, and the one-time benefits and charges cloud the company's true performance. The company also hasn't moved to offer a dividend, as some investors have been hoping.

For more:
- CNN Money has the story from Dow Jones Newswires