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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 22:06 GMT 23:06 UK
Trio land $48bn US telecoms deal
Phone and computer
The firms could supply services to as many as 135 agencies
US telecom groups Qwest, Verizon and AT&T have won a record government contract worth up to $48bn (24.5bn).

The General Services Administration, which awarded the contract, expects the move will lead to an overhaul of federal voice, data and video services.

But the trio will not simply split the proceeds of the 10-year deal, they will now have to compete internally to provide services to federal agencies.

Sprint, which supplied telecoms to the government for 18 years, lost out.

The firm said it would ask to meet up with the General Services Administration next week, then decide whether to protest against the decision or not.

"Sprint is disappointed not to receive a portion of the Networx Universal contract," it said in a statement.

"The Sprint team spent significant time and energy on the program and has made large investments to meet the diverse requirements of the agencies."

Landing the contract was most significant for Qwest, by far the smallest of the three companies.

Experts say the deal could be worth between $20bn and $48bn - the cap set on the Netwrox Universal contract.

The group said the deal was a "big win" but conceded it would have to work hard to battle against Verizon and AT&T.

Under the agreement the three firms will now have to compete with each other for the business of at least at least six federal agencies, but that figure could rise to as many as 135 agencies operating across the globe.

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