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Vodafone muscles in on Gen-i's police business with $159m mobile contract win

Cops are getting iPhones and iPads as the police force shifts a big chunk of its telco business from Telecom to Vodafone.

Just over 6000 frontline police are getting smartphones, Prime Minister John Key, Police Minister Anne Tolley and Police Commissioner Peter Marshall announced today.

And of those 6000, 3900 will also get a tablet.

The 10-year outsourced deal was won by Vodafone and represents new business for the company.

The smartphones and tablets will be supplied by Apple.

The initial cost of the rollout is $4.3 million over three months, police say. Over the next 10 years, they will spend $159 million in operating expenditure to fund the initiative.  

Over the next three months, frontline cops will move from Telecom to Vodafone mobile connections.

More pressure on Telecom ahead
NZ Police chief information officer Stephen Crombie told NBR ONLINE that Telecom's Gen-i division – which has previously had a lock on police business – will continue to supply mobile mobile services for operational management and administrative staff.

"[But] over the coming year police will be working to determine how many of these mobiles will move to the arrangement with Vodafone," Mr Crombie says.

Expect Vodafone to utilise recent acquisition TelstraClear, which is strong in the government sector, in its effort to prize Gen-i's remaining police business.

Anticipated savings
"We believe greater use of modern technology is the way of the future; it's common sense, and will ensure officers can remain on the frontline rather than returning to stations to complete paperwork," Commissioner Marshall says.

Following an 11-month trial involving 100 staff, police claim the investment in technology will provide productivity benefits of $305 million over 10 years.

Why Apple over Android?
NBR asked Mr Crombie why the police had chosen Apple's iPhone and iPad had been selected over alternatives running Google's Android software (or indeed Microsoft's Windows Phone or BlackBerry).

"The trial showed the most useful tools for officers were small personal devices (such as a smartphone) for making phone calls or text messaging, accessing email, and accessing information and photo databases, and a larger such as a laptop or tablet for staff who need to do more data entry," Mr Crombie said.

"Based on frontline officer feedback from the trial (over 100 staff in four districts trialled smartphones, laptops and tablets over an 11-month period) the preferred devices are the iPhone as smartphone and iPad for the tablet. The approach used to develop the applications means Police can move to other devices with relative ease as technology changes."

The deal is part of the all-of-government procurement process and will see Vodafone link fixed line services to mobility, reducing cost duplication for back office communications. Gen-i is also on the all-of-goverment telecommunications supplier panel.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

Vodafone has been the safe pair of hands in the government/corporate market for a while now and this just confirms it.

Great. Thieves and scumbags across the country will rejoice due to the imminent decline in police communications cabability using the cr*p Vodafone network...

I wonder how locked down they will be ie, can an individual policeman use their Apple ID to purchase and download apps, use Photosteam to upload photos to the cloud, etc? If so, can see the cops swapping the [American] traditional donuts and coffee for a round of Angry Birds or Grand Theft Auto. This is a good move. I recall when I lived in Dunedin police on one side could not talk to those on the other (hill in the way, no repeater)... Mobile is definitely the way to go.

Obviously the police don't want to be able to talk to anyone let alone each other.

Kudos to Vodafone's sales pitch, selling the buzzwords and wrong tool for the job. I wouldn't bet against them selling ice to Eskimos. Imagine the extra money needed to physically lock down these devices in police cars? Not to mention software security. I would have thought the Panasonic toughpads, or equivalents, with a customised OS would serve a better solution in terms of security and robustness.

Haha no coverage

I wonder what sort of back hander the decision maker got for selecting a lesser product. Time will tell when the cops in the field can't use their radios which are oversubscribed or their mobile phone from Vodafone as they can't get coverage. Maybe they will be able to flag down a passing motorist and use their phone. The try getting a signal on state highway 1 with Vodafone. I good luck to the boys and girls in blue you'll need it.
The police should have gone for a windows 8 device not a consumer product from apple. I'm looking forward to seeing the costs blow out.

Tim off to a winning start.

I can see all the Telecom / Gen-i staff are posting negative comments about coverage / speed but Vodafone have a far superior network built by NSN over the French crap called XT, The police would of done network testing before they signed the contract you idiots and the better network won on the day Vodafone also offer far better coverage in rural areas under RBI

I don't work for Telecom, Geni or Voda and can assure you that Vodafone coverage is useless. The sky tower is 1.2 k's from my house and I can't make a call. I can't keep a call connected crossing the city. Rural? Bull pucky. No doubt Geni deserved the loss though.

Enjoy your new iPods coppas.

Hi Scott I suggest you take a look at the RBI initiative again as it actually allows Telecom and Vodafone to place new cell sites. As for coverage 850mhz is always going to beat 900mhz (when Vodafone have actually deployed it). XT is an extremely well built network and as a customer and consumer of the product I have a no complaints and neither does my company, having made the switch from Vodafone last year.

I can tell that you must work for Vodafone, as I am not sure how you have concluded that the rest are Telecom/Gen-i employees. We WILL find out who the real muppets are in due course, and see how much Vodafone will have to spend in the next year to ensure that they can deliver. I just hope that NZ Police have done their homework and got clauses on the contract if Vodafone cannot deliver. In the end, who suffers?? The public, and who pays?? The public!!

Apparently, Mr Crombie had an axe to grind and the outcome was always going to be anyone but Telecom. Agree, kudos to Vodafone in selling a dream. It will be interesting to see if the dream becomes a nightmare. Will Vodafone be able to spend the money on their patchy network, given they brought a declining business for $800 million and the parent company will still be wanting their dividends?

As a long-time, very satisfied Apple user, I'm delighted.

I don't work for either of the telcos but re #8 Scott's comments, I live out in the sticks and the only connections we have is mobile (just). Kids on Vodafone no go us adults Telecom 1 bar Vodafone RBI plan 15 months away. As a side note, 200 10 blocks going in and Telecom planning for mid this year upgrade to exchange box.
No contest, I fear.

@wayoutwest It will be Chorus doing the upgrade not Telecom!

The comment from Cloudy Computing and Panasonic Toughpads sounds like sour grapes from someone at Panasonic. The fact is the Toughpads are expensive and who wants to see good tax payer dollars spent when there are most cost effective and better perfoming solutions in the market

So apparently last year they laid off few cops due to not having enough budget and this year they are investing $159 million in buying them toys? Wow! I wonder if Apple is going to help them reduce crime in any way? Oh, well, whatever floats their boat.

Shame Telecom

Apple have not been awarded the all-of-government contract.

Who will be supplying the devices?