GSA seeks comments on governmentwide wireless buy

The General Services Administration has launched a governmentwide procurement for wireless technology.

The procurement, which could last as long as five years, will cover the acquisition of cellular devices, services and related management of program requirements, according to a draft statement of objectives. Potential devices include personal digital assistants, BlackBerries and cellular network cards.

GSA is looking for broadband, wireless cellular and Wi-Fi services. The services must be available in the continental United States and beyond.

The document does not indicate how many devices might be acquired. But given that there are about 2.7 million federal employees, it will be substantial, the document states.

The acquisition is part of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative, which the Office of Management and Budget launched last year to develop acquisitions that cut across agency boundaries.

The team managing the wireless initiative includes representatives from "at least 10 agencies, all of whom have agreed through a formal project charter to participate in the pilot in some capacity," the document states.

Strategic sourcing is intended to save agencies money by consolidating their buying power. But this approach should also provide some business intelligence to help the federal government do a better job of tracking the acquisition of products and services, team leaders say.

Before drafting the statement of objectives, the wireless team gathered historical data from agencies on wireless purchases. The analysis showed a lot of confusion.

"From the analysis, the team discovered the challenge agencies are experiencing with inaccurate wireless inventories, incorrect billing and a multitude of service plans that are confusing and unmanageable," the document states. "The agencies are currently using various contractual vehicles and service providers for their wireless services."

The government is also looking for contractors to help manage the products and services from deployment to operation and eventually to disposal.

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