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But can’t British Telecom simply squash Mercury or push it into unsustainable losses? Hardly: since Mercury’s staffing is dictated only by the current needs of the business, and there are no old Spanish work practices that have to be bought out in order to run the thing efficiently, coupled with the fact that all the equipment in the Mercury network is ultra-modern, almost by definition Mercury can undercut British Telecom’s break-even prices and still make a profit – and Telecom can hardly run major parts of its business at a loss.

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