Qwest will renew its bid for MCI, after rival Verizon agreed to acquire the company for $6.7 billion earlier this week.

Verizon and MCI announced their deal Monday, ending weeks of speculation about a likely agreement. But officials at Qwest, which had also been wooing MCI, indicated that the takeover saga may not be over.

"We will review Verizon's merger agreement with MCI and submit a modified offer," said a company spokesman. "We think it's the right thing to do for shareholders."

Qwest had earlier offered MCI $23 per share but the offer was rejected by MCI in favour of Verizon's bid. Qwest has refused to give any details about its renewed bid, but it is expected to go higher than Verizon.

Jockeying among the telecos was spurred by the announcement at the end of January that SBC plans to acquire AT&T for $16 billion. That deal will create the largest carrier in the US. Speculation about further industry consolidation has been rife since the announcement.