Qwest Drops Sprint in Favor of Verizon Wireless

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New York (AP) Qwest communications international will stop reselling Sprint Nextel's wireless service and move its subscribers to Verizon Wireless' network.

The move announced today means Sprint, already struggling with a dwindling customer base, will lose more subscribers. Denver-based Qwest contributed 824,000 to Sprint's rolls of nearly 54 million subscribers at the end of last year.

Sprint shares rose 83 cents, or 11 percent, to close at $8.72.

Qwest says it had signed a five-year contract with Verizon Wireless that will take effect this summer. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Current wireless subscribers will receive a free, comparable Verizon wireless handset, probably in the last three months of this year.