AT&T files tariff with FCC
AT&T has filed a tariff with the Federal Communications Commission for a set of international and domestic services geared toward the government that will compete with existing international contracts and potentially siphon some nonmandatory users from the FTS 2000 network.The new Government Worldwide Intelligent Networks (GWIN) services include a package of integrated switched services in 145 countries. Services include inbound 800 calls calling cards and the company's AT&T Direct and World Connect services for accessing AT&T's network from overseas to place calling card calls to the United States or other countries.
AT&T also plans to add an option to the tariff by November that will allow government users in 40 countries to buy switched data services.
Larry Cunningham AT&T's offer manager for GWIN said the company has already received orders for GWIN services from at least four federal agencies civilian and military. But he refused to specify which ones.
Although he stressed the international aspects of the new tariff filed with the FCC late last month Cunningham said AT&T will also offer domestic service to nonmandatory users of FTS 2000. He said AT&T will target users with a strong international presence such as U.S. embassies and NATO as well as nonmandatory users of FTS 2000 such as the U.S. Postal Service and the Federal Reserve Board.
"It's been some time since we had a look at our international tariffs " Cunningham said. "We wanted GWIN to include both domestic and international services. Some of our customers cannot get FTS 2000 or don't have to because they are not mandatory users. But we don't see FTS users moving to this domestic platform."
He added that GWIN filed under AT&T's Tariff 16 heading for government services will also be available to foreign governments.
Consultant Warren Suss president of Warren H. Suss Associates Jenkintown Pa. said GWIN will compete with the General Services Administration's International Switched Voice Service (ISVS) contract with MCI as well as the agency's forthcoming ID3 contract now out for bid.
He said AT&T's announcement may send a message to government users that AT&T will accommodate their attempts to circumvent use of GSA contracts including FTS 2000. "If they are encouraging users to go outside GSA contract vehicles it raises questions of whether it suggests AT&T supports alternatives to FTS 2000 " Suss said.
Jerry Edgerton MCI's vice president for government markets asserted that ISVS was "the only legitimately competed contract for international services" in the federal government. He said rates on ISVS could be adjusted to compete with GWIN if necessary.
Edgerton said he was baffled by AT&T's announcement.
"It looks like a shot in the dark " he said. "If they wanted to play in the competitive marketplace they would be working on their bid for ID3. Maybe this is an attempt to grab onto as many customers as possible before the next contract is awarded."
Suss said tariffs geared toward federal users are few adding that he would be surprised if GWIN attracts a lot of users.
But Cunningham said he expects additional agencies to sign onto GWIN once AT&T begins marketing and publicizing the offering. "We really haven't kicked off our promotions yet " he said. "We are just now training our sales force."
The tariff lists fixed assigned rates for international services but domestic GWIN services are priced at 35 percent of AT&T's Uniplan a commercial switched-voice package geared to medium-size businesses Cunningham said.