Communications Minister Paul Henderson announced yesterday that the government will call for public tenders for their telecommunications services contract.
Optus has been supplying the government's voice, data and Internet services since late 1999 and the contract is due to expire at the end of June 2005.
Although, the current five-year contract with Optus contains a provision for the government to extend the agreement for an additional three years, Henderson said it is best if they go to the market with a fresh tender.
"Optus have been providing an excellent service for the Northern Territory Government, however there have been significant changes in technology and market competition since the contract was awarded four and a half years ago," Henderson said.
He said that "Recent submissions from the telecommunications industry confirm the NT government contract, worth in the order of AU$25 million a year, is an attractive business opportunity."
Henderson added that they are expecting competitive bids when the request for tender will be issued in October this year. The successful tenderer will be announced in March 2005.
Telstra Country Wide Group managing director Doug Campbell, said they welcome the NT's government's and that the "Telstra Consortium will be offering a quality bid that, if accepted, will ensure Telstra remains a strong contributor to the economic growth of the Territory."