Federal Government releases mobile phone tender

iPhone seemingly off the menu for Federal Government mobile phone and service tender

The Federal Government is ploughing ahead with its whole-of-government procurement strategy, releasing a tender to form a mobile phone and service provider panel.

The government is looking to use the panel to centralise agency purchasing of mobile phones (including smartphones), voice and data services, and other devices and accessories.

Government documents state agencies should be given access to four classes of mobile device: Class 1 for senior executives; class 2 for general staff; class 3 for technical staff and developers; and the final class for staff with “mobile broadband access” needs.

The smartphones provided must be compatible with software that is listed on the Defence Signals Directorate evaluated product list.

Notably, the list does not include any mention of the popular Apple iPhone but does include BlackBerry and Windows Mobile products.

Class 1 and 3 devices are expected to have mobile data capabilities such as email and functionality for opening attachments while general staff (class 2) will be offered, at minimum, basic phone and SMS functions.

All class 1, 2, and 3 devices must also have GPS, mobile internet, camera and speech recognition capabilities, according to the tender. The phones must not be SIM locked or include “any mechanism that prevents the use of the Device on another infrastructure, such as VOIP”, the documents read.

Class 4 devices must have a HSDPA or 3G connection and allow users to “install and operate the interface and control software on a range of operating systems”.

Tender panel candidates are also being requested to submit a product roadmap that outlines plans for 4G, Long Term Evolution (LTE) or other emerging mobile technologies.

The Federal Government has been pursuing ICT spending reduction measures as a result of recommendations made under the Gershon Review.

In his report that was made available in October 2008, Gershon slammed the Australian Government’s use and management of ICT as weak while making seven main recommendations:

  1. Strengthen pan-government governance
  2. Strengthen agency governance
  3. Tighten the management of ICT business as usual funding
  4. Enhance the management of the public service ICT skills base, including reducing the number of contractors by 50 per cent
  5. Develop a whole-of-government data centre strategy
  6. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ICT marketplace
  7. Improve the sustainability of ICT use

Since commencing on this path the government has put out several whole-of-government tenders including for data centres, an Internet-based networking connections panel and Microsoft volume licensing sourcing arrangement that is expected to provide savings of in excess of $75 million over four years.

In November last year, Minister for finance and deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, said the moves would result in savings of more than $1 billion over the next four years.

In a statement at the time, Tanner said the second round of the business as usual budget reduction program had been completed with "savings of close to $430 million identified between 2010-11 and 2012-13".

In August it was also announced the changes had created $109 million of savings in the 2009/10 financial year. Half of that figure — $54.6 million — was to be immediately available for reinvestment by Federal agencies.

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