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Finance flags November ATM for expanded Mobile Panel

by Pallavi Singhal •
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The Department of Finance will approach the market in mid-November 2013 to replace the whole-of-government Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) Panel.

It has released a draft statement of requirements for comments from industry and agencies ahead of the final approach.

“The draft statement of requirements covers a broader range of products and services than the existing Panel and it has been written to attract a diverse range of suppliers,” a spokesperson from Finance told Intermedium.

“The new panel will provide the opportunity to better leverage the benefits of aggregation across the Commonwealth, as with other coordinated procurement arrangements.”

The panel is scheduled to be established in the first quarter of 2014.

The outgoing whole-of-government panel for Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services is due to expire on 20 December 2013, but will be extended until the establishment of the new panel.

The panel was established in January 2011 for the procurement of mobile voice and data carriage services and commodity hardware, including mobile handsets and accessories.

However, a review of the arrangement undertaken by Finance in May 2012 found that it “did not offer satisfactory value for money when compared with other methods of supply for commodity hardware products”. This was partly attributed to agency procurement not meeting a “sufficient aggregation of volume to attract significant price discounts”.

A temporarily moratorium was consequently placed on the mandatory use of the panel for the purchase of mobile devices for 12 months from July 2012, although it remained fully functional for mobile voice and data carriage services and associated services.

Since then, Finance has conducted an extensive review of the arrangement that involved significant external consultation and informed the nature of the new panel.

“Industry and agencies have provided input for achieving better value for money,” said the spokesperson.

The draft statement of requirements reveals an extended scope for the updated panel under three categories for:

  • Mobile carriage services, covering voice and data carriage services;
  • End-user devices and hardware services, covering mobile, smartphones, mobile broadband services and mobile tablets; and
  • Mobile related services (non-mandatory), covering enterprise mobility management and wireless access point solutions.

Use of the panel is mandatory for the procurement of mobile carriage services and end-user devices and hardware services, which means that suppliers of these services will need to be appointed under the panel to supply to government agencies in the future.

The suppliers under the current arrangement are:

  • Optus;
  • Teledesign;
  • Telstra; and
  • TransACT.         

Nearly 150 contracts worth a total of $45.2 million have been signed through the panel since its inception in 2011, according to Intermedium data. This includes:

  • A $5.7 million contract for telecommunications services between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services and Telstra for five years, expiring in August 2018;
  • A $5.3 million deal for mobile carriage services between the Australian Federal Police and Telstra for three years, expiring in August 2014;
  • A $3.6 million contract for communications devices and accessories between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Optus for three years, expiring in May 2014; and
  • A $3.5 million contract for telecommunications commodities between the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and Optus for three years, expiring in September 2014.

A number of whole-of-government initiatives suggest that public sector demand for mobile commodities and services is likely to grow in the future.

A key aim of the updated panel is to “expand on the current products and services to meet the current and future needs of agencies for their adoption of mobile technologies” according to a blog post by Australian Government Chief Technology Officer John Sheridan.

It will also aim to assist agencies in meeting the aim of increased public sector mobility outlined in the June 2013 Australian Public Service Mobile Roadmap.

The Roadmap includes the potential for “common approaches to remote access services that work across the full range of mobile devices to better support a more mobile workforce”, increased support capacity for mobile solutions, and the development of personalised customer-facing mobile services.

Agencies are expected to achieve a number of mobility outcomes as early as December 2013, including establishing internal mobility projects and identifying potential areas for mobile service delivery. Mobility initiatives including implementing a mobile workforce and contracting third-party application developers to enable mobile access to services are due by June 2015.

Better use of mobility is a cornerstone for the Government’s ‘digital first’ approach to service delivery that is being implemented in stages from late 2013 to 2020, with the eventual goal of delivering 80 per cent of public sector services digitally.

Related Articles:

Finance procurement plan reveals timeline for panel refreshes

Finance evaluates future of Telecommunications Arrangements

Finance extends Federal Desktop Hardware panel

For more information, please contact the Editor (02) 9955 9896.

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  • Federal
  • Telecommunications
  • Finance & Services
  • Australian Public Service Mobile Roadmap
  • Department of Finance
  • John Sheridan
  • Optus
  • Telecommunications Commodities
  • Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) Panel
  • TeleDesign
  • Telstra
  • TransACT