Lockheed wins $3B Postal contract

U.S. Postal Service officials have awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. a converged network services contract potentially worth $3 billion. The company won because of its information technology expertise, gaining an edge on more traditional telecommunications companies such as MCI and Sprint, some analysts said.

USPS officials want Lockheed Martin to integrate networks serving 37,000 postal locations into a unified network for data, voice, video, wireless and managed security services. The contact, known as Universal Computing Connectivity, could last 18 years if all options are exercised.

"This is a very digital network," said Shawn McCarthy, senior analyst for government IT at IDC, an IT research and consulting company. Selecting Lockheed Martin makes sense for such a multifaceted program, he said. "People think of Lockheed as being a Defense contractor — they make airplanes — but the reality is they are also the single largest IT contractor to the federal government."

Lockheed Martin officials will have plenty of help from traditional telecom carriers. They named as partners BellSouth Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. Other major partners are AT&T, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Hughes Network Systems Inc.

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