After Lengthy Delays, Leading U.S. Carriers Win Government-Wide Mobile Contracts



Mike O'Brien
05/23/2013

The General Services Administration has awarded a government-wide contract for discounted wireless services and mobile devices, which it believes will save $300 million over five years.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were all awarded places on the Wireless Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative contract.

The program aims to cut costs by capitalizing on the more than $1 billion the government spends each year in wireless services and products, which GSA hopes to steer through its new contract.

The announcement means the GSA has reached one of the milestones outlined in the Obama administration's Digital Strategy which was released a year ago.

The contract offers each agency the option to pool their unused minutes with a specific carrier instead of paying additional overage fees, as well as access to smartphones, cellphones and broadband data devices.

The wireless contract was originally scheduled to be released in November, but it was delayed by a protest Verizon filed last June with the Government Accountability Office, the Federal Times reports.

At a time when the government is trying to halt duplicative wireless services contracts, that delay led to some agencies awarding their own wireless contracts.

The GSA said: "Until now, wireless purchasing has been fragmented among multiple buying channels resulting in individual bureaus, departments and operating divisions across the government managing more than 4,000 wireless agreements and 800 wireless plans from various carriers."

Agencies that have committed to using the contract include the departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Energy, Interior and Justice.

The announcement also comes just days after a report detailed how budget cuts and security fears were hampering President Obama’s grand federal IT plans last May.

Mobile Work Exchange polled 175 federal IT executives to find out how far they have progressed in developing their mobile strategies, CIO.com reports.

Some of the issues raised in this article will be discussed at IDGA's 2nd Annual Enterprise Mobility for Defense & Government summit later this year. For more details, go to www.enterprisemobilityevent.com