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Losses Continue At MCI And Qwest

MCI Inc. reported a $3.4 billion loss, as the firm wrote off an impairment charge attributed primarily to the plunging value of its consumer-telephone unit. At the same time, Qwest Communications, the smallest of the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs), reported a loss of $569 million.

Both losses were for the firms' third quarters, as they continued to struggle to put accounting scandals behind them.

MCI, formerly called WorldCom Inc., emerged from bankruptcy six months ago and has written off nearly $80 billion in assets. The latest cut reduced the book value of property and other intangibles, including its brand name.

MCI president and chief executive officer Michael Capellas put a positive spin on MCI's results: "Our continued emphasis on operational execution produced solid improvements," he said in a statement. "Going forward, our focus will be on delivering next-generation IP-based products and services, providing industry-leading service quality, and further improving our cost structure."

MCI noted that it would have reported operating income of $121 million, excluding the impairment charge. Revenue in the third quarter fell to $5.08 billion from $5.97 billion recorded in the previous year's like quarter.

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