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Intel dials in telecom services

The chipmaker announces a deal that lets its 40,000 resellers sell telephone service provider MCI's Internet, data and voice services.

Chipmaker Intel announced a deal Wednesday that lets its 40,000 resellers sell telephone service provider MCI's Internet, data and voice services.

id="5113002">Intel inked the deal with MCI to fill the telecommunications void in its resellers' product lineup, an Intel representative said.

This is the second telephone services supply deal the chipmaker has arranged for its product dealer channel. In July, Intel inked a similar agreement, allowing resellers to deal services from U.S. cell phone provider AT&T Wireless.

Intel's resellers range from consumer electronics outlets selling Centrino-equipped wireless laptops to consultants helping small to midsize businesses install and operate computer networks.

An Intel representative hinted that more relationships with telephone service providers are to come, saying "we will be looking at other wireless and landline providers in the future."

The deals remind some of the late 1990s, when Intel spent billions of dollars buying communications equipment makers and began selling communications gear under its own brand name. Intel abandoned the effort, after many of the same suppliers now getting dibs on MCI's new services complained that the Intel gear was competing with the equipment they already sold from other vendors.

For MCI, the deal with Intel opens the door to a whole new channel for sales of its equipment and phone services, notes Jonathan Crane, executive vice president of MCI corporate development and strategy.

"We have effectively extended MCI's distribution channel by more than 40,000 Intel Product Dealer channel members," Crane said in a statement.