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AT&T not planning to buy Vodafone

Or any of the other biggies, for that matter

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AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson has told the Financial Times that despite speculation it's not planning to buy Vodafone.

He said the firm will instead focus on smaller companies supplying big corporate customers with telephony services.

AT&T certainly has international aspirations, and made an abortive bid for Telecom Italia back in April. But Randell, who started as chief executive two weeks ago, described that bid as "opportunistic", and has made it clear that ownership of any former European telecoms monopoly isn't on the cards.

Big business contracts were worth over £5bn to AT&T in 2006, including the customers of the three domestic competitors it's bought in the last few years.

Verizon and BT remain significant international competitors for that business, and both will be watching to see which smaller companies might attract AT&T's interest. ®

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