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Government details massive telco tender

UPDATE Oct 24: Internal Affairs has released its requrest-for-proposal for an all-of-government mobile tender, which will see a supplier panel appointed.

The RFP covers voice and data services for close to 70,000 mobiles. As in other areas (such as the cloud computing contract announced today), the Crown is moving to take advantage of its bulk-buying power.

The supplier panel will service up to 295 government agencies that collective buy more than 132 million voice minutes and 24.5TB of mobile data per year.

The RFP document reveals the government spends $57 million a year on mobile voice and data services, including around $9 million on handsets and a relatively modest $4.7 million on data.

All-of-government suppliers will be awarded three-year contracts, with two one-year rights of renewal.

Up to three mobile phone carriers could be appointed, with mobile virtual network operators (such as TelstraClear Mobile, which resells access to Vodafone's 3G network) eligible.

Sept 21: Internal Affairs has given early warning of an all-of-government tender for mobile voice and data services.

 “The scope of services under consideration includes expenditure by all public service, state services, state sector agencies, councils and schools,” a  brief document flagging the all-embracing tender states.

A supplier briefing will be held October 11. A request-for-proposals will be issued on October 21. The government is looking to ink a deal by February next year.

The RFP will cover mobile voice and data services, and telecommunications assurance (billing and service audits) services.

Tahi, rua, toru, deal
Vodafone and Telecom already offer steep discounts to local and national government entities.

The "Vodafone One" deal, brokered with Internal Affairs, was renegotiated in mid 2010.

NBR understands it offers a blanket 20% discount for public and state sector agencies that choose to go with the carrier.

Telecom’s equivalent agreement, called Tahi (the Maori word for One), was renegotiated with the government on July 12 last year.

Now it looks like the government is set to tighten the screws further.

Could be more than one winner
Outgoing government CIO Brendan Boyle has been on a drive to centralise contracts, and leverage the Crown’s spending power to drive better deals and volume discounts.

The state spends around $2.1 billion on ICT each year, making it easily the the biggest consumer of information technology and telecommunications services.

The government already has all-of-government deals in two IT areas, computers and print devices (and, beyond, IT, for passenger vehicles and office consumables). A third is pending for data centre services.

No detail has been released on the mobile services tender so far.

But If it follows the pattern of previous all-of-government contracts, it will see a supplier panel set up rather than an exclusive supplier.

The printer and printer services panel, finalised in March, for example, consists of Canon, Fuji Xerox, HP, Konica Minolta and Ricoh.

Still, being left off a panel can hurt.

Industry scuttlebutt holds that missing out on the data centre/government as a service all-of-government shortlist (Datacom, IBM and Revera made the final cut) was one of the reasons HP recently scrapped its $60 million Tuakau data centre (the company offered only the gnomic "Our New Zealand clients and wider business community have identified an increasing requirement for geographic separation of their data centre locations.")

More all-of-government agreements on way
To have the chance of joining the supplier panel, a company will have to offer some sharp pricing and, one would expect, some quality-of-service guarantees.

Announcing the all-government PC, laptop and computer services all-of-government agreement in October last year (with Acer, local PC assembler Cyclone, Gen-i, HP and The Laptop Company) Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said the deal would save the government $35 million over five years.

All-of-government services tenders are also in the works for areas including insurance, travel and utilities.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

"132 million voice minutes and 24.5TB of mobile data per year."

So for every minute of voice the Govt used 0.185 Mb of data. That's a ratio that's going to keep changing rapidly, as they migrate to iPhones and the like.