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MCI Quietly Offers $29.99-A-Month VoIP

Still in the process of being acquired by Verizon Communications, MCI has quietly launched a consumer VoIP service that could compete with Verizon's VoiceWing VoIP service.

MCI told the Reuters news service that its Neighborhood Broadband service will serve less-than 5,000 subscribers, who will pay $29.99 a month for the service. MCI apparently is hedging its bets against all comers including rival AT&T whose CallVantage VoIP service also costs $29.99 a month. AT&T is being acquired by SBC Communications, which likewise has VoIP offerings.

Earlier this month, MCI launched an IP-based service in Europe called MCI Advantage VoIP. That service, however, has a bundle of features including messaging, data exchange, and IP phoning -- all within a single network infrastructure.

MCI has accepted a takeover offer from Verizon, although some investment banking organizations and hedge funds continue to seek to derail the transaction. They hope to drive the price of the acquisition higher by re-igniting bidding for MCI. Shareholders. and federal agencies must also rule on the acquisition, but most observers believe the deal will be approved.