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A fledgling unit of Pacific Bell is kicking off the new year by looking for an agency to handle its $10 million account.

The nationwide search by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Pacific Bell Mobile Services could be one of several opportunities for agencies to pick up work in California after the state Public Utilities Commission gave a green light to 29 companies to compete against PacBell in wireless and local phone service starting this month. One of those companies is AT&T, which has announced plans to offer local service in California starting in March.

PacBell Mobile Services will be gathering agency credentials through mid-January and will include current PacBell agencies: San Francisco shops Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which handles general advertising; Foote, Cone & Belding, which handles Yellow Pages advertising; and BBDO Worldwide, information services; plus Los Angeles agencies Ogilvy & Mather Direct and Ketchum Interactive.

A list of finalists will be announced in February, with a decision expected by early March. Advertising will break in early 1997.

The new PacBell company will be competing with AirTouch Communications, which was spun off from Pacific Telesis Group in April 1994, as well as GTE, Cellular One, AT&T Wireless and Qualcom.

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