IP Australia goes telco shopping

Australia's intellectual property regulator has placed a substantial portion of its communications spend for at least the next three years from July 2007 on the market. IP Australia divided up mobile and fixed voice communications in two separate request for tender documents issued this week under the name of its voice manager Paul Quirk.

Australia's intellectual property regulator has placed a substantial portion of its communications spend for at least the next three years from July 2007 on the market.

IP Australia divided up mobile and fixed voice communications in two separate request for tender documents issued this week under the name of its voice manager Paul Quirk.

Quirk was not immediately able to confirm IP Australia's current supplier(s) when ZDNet Australia briefly spoke with him this morning, however according to the documents, Telstra, Optus and AAPT are currently involved in some capacity.

The first contract deals with mobile phone and third-generation (3G) data services, including handset procurement and "future 3G-enabled Blackberry devices", as well as O2's personal digital assistants.

IP Australia currently has some 168 GSM and a handful of CDMA voice mobile services, in addition to a few GSM and 3G data services. The agency does not currently have any Blackberry devices, but may use them in future.

The agency's long-term use of CDMA may prove to be a problem as Telstra has scheduled the closure of its national CDMA network -- on which other carriers piggyback -- from January 2008. The network is being replaced with a 3G equivalent, launched last Friday.

On the fixed side, IP Australia is looking for the full range of telephone services, such as standard ISDN and PSTN lines, line rental and the ability to call locally, long-distance, to mobiles and internationally. Other services such as inbound 1800 services are also needed.

Both contracts will be for an initial three years, with two optional one year extensions. IP Australia will choose suppliers in April 2007. The agency will meet with interested suppliers later this month in Canberra.

The news comes as two other federal agencies, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Trade Commission recently placed their communications spend on the market.

In addition, the NSW government has recently culled its list of potential suppliers for its annual AU$260 million spend over the next few years.

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