TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Rome Calling Ma Bell

Rome Calling Ma Bell

One of Italy's most famous antiquities is surely its telephone system. But now AT&T aims to help bring it into the 20th century. Last week Italtel, an Italian telecommunications equipment maker, said it has chosen AT&T as its partner in a five-year, $27 billion government-subsidized mega-project to rebuild the country's cranky telephone system virtually from scratch. As one of the main contractors on the project, Italtel will supply most of the basic equipment, while AT&T will provide the know-how, software and supercomputers that will make Italian phone lines hum efficiently. The job may be worth several billion dollars to Ma Bell.

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