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BT has whittled down prospective IT partners to less than a handful for what is expected to be the UK’s biggest "free" PC give-away to date. The telecomms giant issued a tender, looking for a PC maker to join it in a PC/ISP deal. The agreement is now in its final stages and an announcement is expected imminently, sources have told The Register. BT’s move looks like a response to recent free PC offers in the UK, where consumers have been given the hardware in exchange for committing to an ISP or telecomms contract. It follows deals by Tiny and Time Computers and ISP Online-Direct among others, and will surely have these companies quaking in their boots. Andy Brown, IDC analyst, said: "It was bound to happen. After the success of Freeserve, lots of vendors will be looking to jump on the bandwagon. "Its threat to similar packages will depend on which company is supplying the hardware for BT, and the obligations in the deal for the customer." Brown predicted a host of similar deals would follow in the UK. "But the shrewd consumer will be hopping between deals before committing," he said. BT said it did not comment on tenders. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register

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