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AT&T Ready to Trim Number of Vendors It Uses?

At least one industry analyst is warning that a (seemingly) new AT&T Inc. (T) policy could imperil vendors’ sales.

Simon Leopold of Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. said in a research note Tuesday the provider wants to reduce the number of suppliers it uses. That’s not so unusual in an economy where everyone’s paring back, Leopold noted; what is unusual is that AT&T reportedly wants to cut down to “two primary suppliers in each of roughly 14 technology domains.”

And this apparently is not the first time AT&T has proposed the idea, it’s just the first time it’s had an IT exec that supports it. Previously, Leopold noted, AT&T’s networks and operations teams insisted on using the most appropriate, available technology.

At any rate, the large, dominant vendors probably would benefit the most from such an AT&T policy. Still, Leopold cautioned, it would be “premature” for smaller players to panic.

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