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3 is to hand over control of its 3G phone network in the UK to Ericsson as part of a massive seven-year managed services deal.

More than 1,000 staff from 3 are to be transferred to Ericsson as part of the deal, although the giant operator has confirmed that no redundancies will be made as part of the move.

Financial details were not released but reports claim the agreement could be worth in the region of $3bn (£1.7bn).

A part of the deal the Swedish phone giant will be responsible for the management, operation and performance of 3's network and IT infrastructure in the UK, although the Hutchison Whampoa-owned company retains ownership of the network and IT assets.

Announcing the deal today 3 UK's chief exec Bob Fuller said the agreement was the "most efficient way to own and manage infrastructure of this kind".

Ericsson already has deals in place with 3 in Australia and Italy, where it manages the cellco's multi-vendor networks and in Sweden, where it looks after 3's messaging platform. ®

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