Victoria updates decade-old telco panels to save AU$34m annually

New State Purchase Contracts have replaced existing arrangements with Telstra and Optus, and added a handful of smaller telco players into the mix.

There's something to be said for popping into your local phone store to see if you can get a better deal, and in the case of Victoria, the southernmost mainland state was still using contracts initially inked in 2004.

On Tuesday, the state announced that it had managed to save AU$129 million by replacing its existing Telecommunications Carriage Services contracts -- which offered an option of Telstra or Optus -- with its new Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS2025) contract arrangements that would add NEC, Vocus, MyNetFone, Mitel, and R-Group to the mix of vendors that government agencies could purchase telecommunications services from.

The length of the TPAMS2025 contracts will run for either three or four years, with the overall cost set to drop from AU$160 million per year to AU$126 million annually.

"The market for mobile services, data, and internet services is dynamic and competitive, and we're proud to have been able to take advantage of that competition to save Victorians AU$34 million per year," Victorian Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings said in a statement.

"The Victorian government is one of the largest users of telecommunications services in Victoria, and, like any other consumer, we know it's smart to shop around to get the best value for money."

The government said the new arrangements would cover fixed and mobile phone and data services, as well as videoconferencing, and would have "a focus on enhancing coverage" beyond Melbourne.

When the previous Telecommunications Carriage Services contracts arrived in 2004, then-Minister for Information and Communication Technology Marsha Thomson hailed the new contracts as saving AU$100 million over five years for the state.

At the time, the state spent AU$178 million annually on its telecommunication services.