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This article refers to the local telephone operating company. For the holding company, see Qwest.
Qwest Corporation
Type Private (Subsidiary of Qwest)
Founded 1911[1]
Headquarters Denver, Colorado, USA
Industry Telecommunications
Products Local Telephone Service
Parent AT&T (1911-1983)
U S WEST (1984-2000)
Qwest (2000-present)
Subsidiaries Malheur Bell
El Paso County Telephone
Website http://www.qwest.com/

Qwest Corporation is the single Bell Operating Company of Qwest Communications International, Inc. It was formerly named U S WEST Communications, Inc. from 1991 to 2000, and also formerly named The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company from 1911 to 1991. It includes the former operations of Northwestern Bell and Pacific Northwest Bell as well.

Contents

History

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Mountain Bell

Denver Telephone Dispatch Company

Recent Harvard graduates Frederick O. Vaille, and Henry R. Walcott, went to Denver and met a saloonkeeper, Sam Morgan and together secured 161 customers, enough to warrant a return to Boston to secure a new telephone franchise from the American Bell Telephone Company.

When the franchise was secured, wires were strung, boys were hired as operators, a switchboard was installed and the Denver Telephone Dispatch Company opened for business on February 24th, 1879. The Denver exchange was the seventeenth in the nation, opening just nine days after the Minneapolis exchange. Denver's Rocky Mountain News reported "The Telephone Company are adding new subscribers to the system every day."

Building the Colorado Telephone Company

Soon after the Denver Dispatch Company began operations, the Western Union-owned Colorado Edison Telephone Company began competitive operations. Western Union also began a phone company in Leadville.

The Edison Company with its powerful transmitter was able to offer service to nearby towns of Golden, Georgetown, Central City, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.

The competitive battle raged as the Dispatch Company acquired better transmitters and added Golden, Black Hawk, Georgetown and Central City to their calling area. When the American Bell Company won their patent infringement suit with Western Union, the Bell companies absorbed the Western Union companies. In Denver, competition for local service was absent from the market until 1997.

In 1880, Vaille sold two of his four franchise contracts back to American Bell, who sold them to Horace Tabor in Leadville. In January 1881, Vaille joined a group of Denver business leaders to form the Colorado Telephone Company. Denver Dispatch faded into history when Vaille sold his remaining two Bell contracts to the Colorado Telephone Company. Henry Wolcott was the president of Colorado Telephone, while Vaille stayed on as general manager for three years.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Telephone Company began to grow, as "boomer linemen" strung wire to ranches and farm towns in the flat lands, and to mines and mining towns in the mountains, and along Colorado's front range. Colorado Telephone purchased the Leadville company in 1888.

Rocky Mountain Bell

The Denver Dispatch Company was less than two years old when the Rocky Mountain Telephone Company began in Salt Lake City, Utah with less than 100 subscribers. With the financial backing of American Bell, The Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company replaced Rocky Mountain Telephone in 1883. Rocky Mountain Bell immediately began an aggressive campaign to buy nearly every small telephone company in the region, and their operating territory soon covered nearly all of Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

A combination of overspending, careless management, and the logistical difficulties of covering an extremely large, sparsely-populated territory would eventually put Rocky Mountain Bell in financial trouble.

Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph

These business practices stopped with the birth of the Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company. Vaille was well aware of Rocky Mountain Bell's problems and he insisted that Colorado Telephone Company managers take over the majority of management positions in the former Rocky Mountain Bell Company territory. Vaille served as a Mountain States director until his death in 1920.

Mountain Bell logo

MST&T commonly did business as Mountain States Telephone until 1969, when the new Bell System logo came into use and the company name was shortened to Mountain Bell. However, the legal name of the company remained The Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Company. The company provided telephone services in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Southern Idaho, Wyoming, and the El Paso, Texas vicinity. Additionally, MST&T acquired controlling interest in the Malheur Home Telephone Company in Oregon, better known as Malheur Bell. MST&T operated Malheur Bell as a wholly-owned independent subsidiary; an arrangement that continues to date with Qwest.

Prior to 1984, AT&T held a stake of 88.6% in Mountain Bell.

Usage of the Mountain Bell name has recently been reactivated by Unical Enterprises, who began producing telephones under the Mountain Bell name in 2006.

The Mountain Bell headquarters was located at 931 14th Street in Denver, Colorado.

Northwestern Bell

Northwestern Bell logo

Northwestern Bell Telephone Company served the states just north of the Southwestern Bell area, including: Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska.

Northwestern Bell was formerly the Iowa Telephone Company, which changed its name to Northwestern Bell in 1920. It then absorbed the operations of companies such as the Northwestern Telephone Exchange, the Tri-State Telephone Company, Dakota Central Telephone Company, and the Nebraska Telephone Company.

The Northwestern Bell headquarters was located at 1314 (DOTM) Douglas Street in Omaha, Nebraska. It remained incorporated in Iowa, however.

Pacific Northwest Bell

Pacific Northwest Bell logo, 1984–1991

Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company provided telephone services in the states of Oregon, Washington, and northern Idaho.

Pacific Northwest Bell was created on July 1, 1961, when the Bell telephone operations in northern Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state were split off from Pacific Telephone & Telegraph. The same was done when the South Central Bell territory was divided from Southern Bell.

Prior to 1984, AT&T held 89.3% in Pacific Northwest Bell.

Pacific Northwest Bell's headquarters are at 1600 7th Avenue (also known as 1600 Bell Plaza), in Seattle, Washington.

Ownership Change

USWEST Corporate Logo, 1984-2000

In 1984, the Bell System was broken into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies. U S WEST, Inc. became a holding company for Mountain Bell, Northwestern Bell, and Pacific Northwest Bell.

U S WEST Communications

U S WEST Communications logo, 1991-2000

On January 1, 1991, U S WEST merged the operations of Northwestern Bell and Pacific Northwest Bell into Mountain Bell[2][3]. At this point, the entities Northwestern Bell Telephone Company and Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company ceased to exist, with The Mountain State Telephone & Telegraph Company continuing and changing its name to U S WEST Communications, Inc., taking over former NWBT and PNWBT operations.

U S WEST Communications Group was a business group within U S WEST founded in the mid-90s that included U S WEST's local telephone operations. Their tracking stock symbol was USW. Non-telephone assets, such as their directory operations and cable television services were housed under U S WEST Media Group, whose tracking stock symbol was UMG. The latter was spun off as MediaOne, and their directory publishing operations were transferred back to U S WEST Communications Group, which was absorbed into U S WEST, Inc.

U S WEST, since 1984, had been selling telephone equipment under the Northwestern Bell name. In 1992, U S WEST granted Unical Enterprises, who had been producing phones under the "La Phone" brand, the right to become the exclusive licensee to produce telephones under the Northwestern Bell name, which are still produced under the BELL Phones by Northwestern Bell Phones brand.

Acquisition

In 2000, Qwest Communications International acquired U S WEST in a hostile takeover. At the time, U S WEST was trying to acquire Global Crossing, and resisted Qwest's takeover. Qwest was a much smaller company in terms of employees and market capitalization when it obtained control of the Bell operating company. Because U S WEST's stock was trading at very high prices during the dot-com bubble, Qwest was able to purchase the larger firm, which was renamed Qwest Corporation[4].

Headquarters

Qwest Corporation is headquartered in Denver, Colorado where it was headquartered since it was formerly Mountain Bell. It maintains offices in Seattle and Omaha.

References

  1. ^ Colorado Secretary of State
  2. ^ Articles of Merger, January 1, 1991, Pacific Northwest Bell, Colorado Secretary of State
  3. ^ Articles of Merger, January 1, 1991, Northwestern Bell, Colorado Secretary of State
  4. ^ Articles of Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, July 5, 2000, Colorado Secretary of State

See also

External links


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