After spending millions of dollars over the past four years to win a slice of the largest U.S. government telecom contract in history, AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest Communications emerged triumphant as Sprint Nextel—for 18 years a major supplier of telecom services to the U.S. government—found itself left out of the deal. Sources estimate that the contract, known as Networx Universal, could be worth as much as $48 billion over the next ten years. Considered the successor to the current FTS-2001 contract serviced in part by Sprint-Nextel, Networx constitutes the largest overhaul of federal government telecommunications systems in more than 20 years and covers voice, video, and data services used by 135 government agencies throughout the U.S. and in 200 foreign nations. Instead of being awarded specific portions of the contract, AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest would compete for individual contracts from agencies that purchase telecom services under Networx. A smaller but related contract, dubbed Networx Enterprise, is due to be awarded in May. That contract, for which Sprint remains a contender, would be valued at $20 billion over ten years. Commenting on the decision, a spokesman for the General Services Administration explained that the winning companies “offered the best value for our agencies.”