US WEST reported net income of $285.9 million for the first quarter, up 5.1 percent over the same period in 1990. Earnings per share remained the same, 73 cents, primarily because of last May's offering of 16.1 million shares of common stock.

Return on equity was 12.2 percent for the quarter, down from 13.3 percent a year ago, again mostly due to the stock offering.Sales and other revenue for the quarter were $2.4 billion, up $23.7 million over the same period last year.

The company said telephone access lines served by US WEST Communications increased 355,000, or 2.9 percent, during the past 12 months, bringing the total to 12.7 million. Minutes of long-distance usage increased 9 percent in the same period.