The Western Australian (WA) government has named a panel of telecommunications carriers that will compete for agency contracts for the next three years.
The government named Amcom, Bright Telecommunications, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, Switftel and Telstra as the
successful tenderers in its whole-of-government, Common Use Agreement (CUA) for basic telecommunications services.
The new mandatory contracts, which kicked off yesterday, are part of plans to standardise services to help agency buying
The WA government spends about AU$79 million on telecommunications services each year.
John Crowe, director of IT&T procurement, Department of Treasury and Finance, WA government, said there were two main changes to telecommunications procurement in the state.
"Before, suppliers were able to offer whatever services they chose," he said.
"Under the new contract, we've developed eight categories and standardised on the services [agencies] would buy.
Under the CUA, the government has created eight service types. In voice, these are access services and local calls,
long distance calls, inbound services and managed voice services. In data, these are IP solutions, leased capacity,
circuit switched data services and dedicated data services.
Each service type has three potential suppliers, allowing agencies some choice.
"The other difference is that agencies will now have quotes. Now, prices are available to them," Crowe said.
"We're getting away from agencies buying individually, and buying as part of the contract."
The CUA had been projected to save around AU$14 million, but via "judicious spending", the government would actually aim for savings of AU$30 million, said Crowe.
Twenty percent of the tender requirements were based on support for local industry, but this didn't mean WA-based carriers Amcom, Bright and Swiftel received any favours, according to Crowe.
"They won their place based on their offering," he said.
"For instance, we've brought in Macquarie Telecommunications who hadn't had much of a presence in WA before."
The broadband services of the CUA would be the most commonly used over the next few years, he said.
"We have a strategy for most agencies to move to VoIP. It's an area we'll be giving focus to."
The CUA agreements expire on 28 February 2009, although the government has the option to extend them for two consecutive one-year terms.