MCI COMMUNICATIONS IS IN the throes of metamorphosis. Congress may soon let the Bell companies into MCI's backyard, the $70 billion long-distance business. In advance of the new competition, MCI announced plans on Aug. 2 to lay off up to 6% of its 42,000-person workforce and write off up to $800 million in old plants and equipment. It's also gearing up to crash the wireless party this year, announcing agreements with five companies, including AT&T's McCaw division, to resell service under its brand name. And MCI is considering breaking up its stock into three new entities.

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