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SBC, others win federal bidding rights

SBC Communications is among 17 firms that won the right to bid on government contracts to supply federal agencies with an estimated $35 billion in telephone services and equipment.

SBC Communications is one of 17 companies that won the right to bid on government contracts to supply federal agencies with an estimated $35 billion in telephone services and equipment, a U.S. General Services Administration representative said Tuesday.

According to a list provided by the GSA, SBC, Verizon Communications, technology strategists Booz Allen Hamilton, consumer-services giant Electronic Data Systems and 13 others were selected to take part in the Federal Technology Service's Connections program, which federal agencies turn to when buying telephone equipment and airtime.

Although none of the 17 companies has actually been awarded any work, just the right to bid on the contracts, getting on the exclusive list is certainly welcome news for telephone equipment makers and service suppliers suffering through a 2-year plus downturn, said SBC Communications representative Wes Arnock.

"We intend to offer the breadth of our services," Arnock said.

A representative for Verizon Communications did not immediately return a call for comment.

Connections program commissioner Sandra Bates said about half of the companies winning bidding rights are small to midsized businesses.

"We are pleased to have assembled an impressive array of industry partners," Bates said in a statement.

The contracts will be awarded over the next eight years.