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Verizon: Qwest can talk to Verizon bride MCI

But don't exchange phone numbers

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Qwest won't give up in its bid for the spammer's favorite telco, MCI. Qwest wooed the fallen giant before Christmas, only to see Verizon win MCI's heart last month. Despite offering a higher dowry ($8bn to Verizon's $6.7bn), the MCI board prefers Verizon - largely because its balance sheet is a lot healthier.

Now Verizon says it will permit MCI to talk to Qwest again, confident that it won't change its mind. Or, as it put it in a press statement, "we believe that this process will result in MCI reaching the same conclusion that it reached after seven months of discussions with Qwest".

Qwest's plan involves shedding 15,000 jobs at MCI that even 'Don' Capellas couldn't get shot of, which it reckons will save $10 billion. MCI is expected to mull the Qwest offer for another fortnight.

The deal follows the mega-mergers of SBC and AT&T, and Cingular and AT&T Wireless. But there's one aspect to the merger mania that no one wants to talk about.

Last year Michael Copp, the most thoughtful and far sighted FCC commissioner, warned of the possible consequences for competition.

"Can we expect that Bell-owned wireless carriers will compete tooth-and-nail against their wireline parents? I don't think so," he wrote. ®

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Verizon and MCI to tie the knot
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