Qwest Communications

(Q)

expects to meet its 2001 revenue and earnings projections, as strong sales of Internet-based services in January kept the company on pace to meet its targets.

For the year, Qwest expects to earn $8.5 billion to $8.7 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The company, which is based in Denver, projected full-year revenue of $21.3 billion to $21.7 billion.

The broadband communications company estimates first-quarter revenue growth of 11.5% to 12.5% over the year-ago period.

Qwest plans to re-enter the long-distance market in its 14 state local service area, and the company will file its first application with the

Federal Communications Commission

this summer for one of the states. The company will file applications for other states later this year and early next year.

Earlier this month, Qwest said it would begin a

cash tender offer for roughly $1.1 billion of its senior notes outstanding in a move designed to reduce the company's interest costs.

Shares of Qwest gained 85 cents, or 2.4%, to $36.75 in recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading.