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Telecom Merger Will Create First Ever "Single Phone Company"

San Antonio, Texas ( — In a landmark decision expected to create an unprecedented "single, nationwide phone company," a federal judge yesterday approved the merger of BellSouth, SBC, Sprint, Verizon, MCI, Qwest and 40 other communications firms. The combined company, which would become America's first "sole provider" of local and long-distance service, will go by the new name of "American Telephone & Telegraph."

"Historically, we have forced people to choose from among several phone different companies and pricing plans, which is confusing and anti-consumer," wrote Judge Thomas Akers. "Entrusting all service to a massive, single company — a mother figure, if you will — seems like something we at least ought to try."

Analysts, however, warned the concept of a single phone company is untested, and speculated such a firm would meet several obstacles. "For instance, if you have just one phone company, it has to service the entire nation all by itself without any competition," said IDG telecom analyst Fenton Frederick. "Without knowing what prices competitors charge, how will it know what to charge?"

Responded Verizon CEO Charles Lee: "Oh, I'm sure we'll manage."


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