Victoria slashes AU$100 million in telco costs

The Victorian government expects to save around AU$100 million over five years under a new telecommunications deal signed today. Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson, said the Telecommunications Carriage Services tender -- the first tranche of which generated the savings -- had set a new national pricing benchmark for government telecommunications use.

The Victorian government expects to save around AU$100 million over five years under a new telecommunications deal signed today.

Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Marsha Thomson, said the Telecommunications Carriage Services tender -- the first tranche of which generated the savings -- had set a new national pricing benchmark for government telecommunications use.

"This outcome will enable government to significantly re-invest in its telecommunications services after signing deals for fixed voice, data and mobile services," said Thomson.

Approximately AU$62 million of the government's annual mobile, data and fixed voice expenditure went to the market under the first tranche of the TCS.

Contracts from this tranche will run over two years with three one-year options. Optus will be providing the fixed voice services while Telstra will provide mobile and data services.

The contract is delivered under the Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMs) and is expected to set in place "a tendering process that will have a significantly shortened turn around time for future contracts".

The short-listed companies will form a panel of ready-approved suppliers which will allow them to bid on future government work.

The panel of Government Approved Telecommunications Suppliers (GATS) includes Optus, Telstra, AAPT, Soul Pattinson Telecommunications and Macquarie Corporate Telecommunications.

"The establishment of a GATS panel means the exhaustive tender and negotiation process that we've gone through for this tender will result in a much simpler process when the next tranche of business is put to the GATS early next year," she said.

Thomson added that the first tranche of voice, data and mobile services would be rolled out immediately and finalised by the end of 2005. This will cover all mobile telephony for government departments of about 16,000 handsets, fixed voice and data for the Department of Education and Training, the Departments of Sustainability and the Environment, Primary Industries, Justice, VicRoads, Victoria Police and Parliament.

The next tranche of business includes the Departments of Human Services, Education and Training Innovation, and Regional Development, Premier and Cabinet, Treasury and Finance, Victorian Communities and Infrastructure.

Thomson said the aim of TPAMS is to provide Victorian government departments and agencies with a better range of telecommunications services, more competitive telecommunications pricing and the ability to access the latest technology to improve operations.

The Victorian government spends approximately AU$178 million annually on telecommunications services across all departments and agencies. This spend includes fixed voice, telephony, mobile and data services.

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