E-Commerce Stock Watch: US West’s $1 Billion Goal

US West (NYSE: USW) provided all sorts of reasons to be bullish at its annual investor conference on Thursday. The company plans to double the number of customers using its “Advanced PCS” wireless service in 1999 and exceed 250,000 subscribers for its Internet access service. US West also said it expects its e-commerce initiatives to yield $1 billion (US$) in revenues in the next three years.

That’s an impressive statement, but the company also said it plans to “achieve more than $25 million in sales of e-commerce-related services, primarily through its data and directory divisions in 1999.” This means it’s going to take some astounding growth to get to $1 billion in three years.

“Our company is about growth,” Sol Trujillo, president and CEO of US WEST said. “We’re focused on bringing customers a unique experience — an experience centered on integration, innovation and the Internet. That’s why earlier this week we announced an initiative to spend an additional $300 million in 1999 to help improve our channel and infrastructure capabilities, position us for entry into the interLATA long-distance business, and sharpen our competitive edge.”

It remains to be seen whether US West can sustain the kind of growth it expects this year, but this is a telecommunications company with a strong balance sheet and an eye on the future. This looks like a safe e-commerce play for investors who are leery of Internet stocks.

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