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TelstraClear and Vodafone beat Telecom to $60m defence contract

There's room on this horse for two, but not Telecom and Gen-i. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has dropped its incumbent network and mobile services providers, Telecom and its Gen-i division, in favour of TelstraClear and Vodafone.

TelstraClear becomes the NZDF's preferred supplier of wide area networks (WANs), charged with building a 10Gbit/s "ENIGMA" network that will link army data centres and bases. Vodafone becomes the NZDF's preferred supplier of mobile services.

All up the deal is worth up to $60 million: The networking contract with Telstra is worth between $28 million and $40 million over ten years, and Vodafone's contract is worth $20 million over ten years.

With 13,000 personnel, the NZDF is one of the largest IT users in the country.

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae,  says the decision to go with TelstraClear and Vodafone was based on price, functionality, ease of upgrade, service delivery and superior global roaming.

Telstra has a similar WAN proposal currently before the Australian Defence Force.

Love is a battlefield
TelstraClear spokesman Chris Mirams tells NBR that his company did not actively co-operate with Vodafone in seeking the NZDF procurement contract, which was managed by Ernst and Young over a 12-month period.

Nevertheless, the result is a combined TelstraClear-Vodafone solution for the NZDF - which industry observers will find ironic given the telco duo's bad blood in the past.

TelstraClear's currently runs its mobile phone service over Telecom's cellular network in a wholesale deal, but has been shut out of Telecom 3G network upgrade, due to go live in June next year - sparking speculation that TelstraClear would return to the arms of its previous mobile service wholesale supplier, Vodafone (Vodafone flatly rejected the notion).

The weekenders
Defence Communications Group spokesman Chris Wright says Telecom and Gen-i were not shut out of the NZDF altogether. The pair will continue to supply IT services to the Territorials, and other elements of the NZDF.

The NZDF win caps a good month for TelstraClear, which on November 24 announced a $20 million networking deal with Transpower.

More by By Chris Keall

Comments and questions

What does Telecom expect when they had the lowest R&D expenditure in the OECD under Ameritech, an essentially proprietary CDMA network and awful handsets. Oh well. It'd be nice to see cheaper mobile data from Vodafone, it's all a bit of a rort.