The Denver-based phone company on Tuesday said it earned $185 million, or 11 cents per share, in the October-December period. That's down from $366 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.
The latest results included a charge of a penny per share for severance payments. The company cut 1,700 jobs in the quarter.
Thomson Reuters says analysts it polled expected lower earnings of 10 cents per share.
Qwest says its revenue slipped 3 percent to $3.32 billion.