Brr Ring! America Calling

It was one wake-up call that Europe's phone companies won't soon forget. Last year, Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever PLC opened bids for a three-year contract to run its 17-country European communications network: computer data, electronic mail, and possibly voice calls in the future. A few years ago, one of the home-team carriers, British Telecommunications PLC or Royal PTT Nederland, probably would have won it as a matter of course.

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