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U S WEST SHIFTS ITS FOCUS TO CABLE

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-U S West Media Group said it began shifting its focus to cable networks during the first quarter, even as its domestic wireless subscriber base grew 38 percent.

The company is selling its domestic cellular interests to AirTouch Communications Inc. “It’s a good deal for everyone involved,” said Carolyn Crawford, executive director of investor relations. “It allows Media Group to focus on our core cable business, so we can offer new broadband services.

“It gives our shareowners AirTouch stock in a tax-efficient manner,” she continued. “It provides AirTouch with the scale and scope it needs to compete successfully.”

The company’s domestic wireless subscriber base grew 38 percent during the quarter, to nearly 2 million subscribers. Domestic wireless operations accounted for $309 million in revenues, 29 percent more than 1996 pro forma revenues of $240 million. Average revenue per customer was $47.77, a decrease of almost 9 percent from last year’s figures.

The company also logged 612,000 international wireless subscribers accounting for $144 million in revenues.

Wireless communications accounted for the company’s largest increase in sales and revenues with a 27 percent increase. Media Group’s total revenues were $1.2 billion, compared with revenues of $1.08 billion for the same period last year. Net loss was $109 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $111 million, or 20 cents per share, for the first quarter 1996.

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