The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has
specified that any new handsets it purchases for its corporate
mobile phone fleet must support the growing third-generation (3G)
mobile networks currently being built by local carriers.
The AFP is the primary law enforcement agency operated by the
federal government. It carries out a variety of duties related to
the national interest, particularly where matters fall outside
the jurisdiction of state governments.
The 3G requirements were detailed in tender documents released
yesterday, in which the AFP called for a new supplier of mobile
and satellite phone services for at least two years from March
"The tenderer must offer AFP a range of no more than four
handsets," the documents said. "All four handsets are to be
3G/GSM/international capable and at least one is to be CDMA
All of Australia's major mobile phone carriers (Telstra,
Hutchison, Optus and Vodafone) are currently engaged in building
out 3G networks, but most consumers and corporates still use the
traditional and much slower 2G GSM networks.
The AFP's mobile phone fleet currently consists of
approximately 2500 phones of varying models, mainly of Nokia
make. A majority -- 80 percent -- of those devices connect to terrestrial networks
(both in Australia and internationally) based on the GSM
standard. The rest use CDMA networks. The AFP also has around 160
"The number of handsets required by the AFP is anticipated at
500 mobile handsets and 30 satellite handsets per annum. However,
the nature of the AFP's evolving capacity building may determine
that a greater number is required," the AFP's request for tender
The documents did not disclose AFP's current mobile services
supplier, and a spokesperson for the agency was not immediately
able to comment on the matter.
However, like most government agencies, AFP is legally required
to publish contracts it signs above the value of AU$10,000.
ZDNet Australia research into contracts disclosed by the AFP
over the past 12 months suggests the agency has allocated a
substantial amount of its telecommunications spend in general to large mobile carriers Telstra and Optus -- but not rivals Vodafone and Hutchison.