Acquisition

GSA extends wireless bulk buying plan

mobile devices (Leonardo da/Shuterstock.com) 

Federal buyers will have until this fall to use the General Services Administration's predetermined pricing/supply agreements to buy their wireless services from providers.

In a March 6 blog post, Kay Ely, assistant commissioner in GSA's Office of Information Technology Category, said the agency has extended the life of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative wireless services blanket purchase agreements though November to help agencies complete their agreements for next fiscal year.

The BPAs had been set to expire May 20.

GSA rolled out the BPAs with AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Verizon in the spring of 2013. The agreements consolidated service plans and centralized device management, setting federal customers up for what GSA said could be millions in savings.

It was the first time agencies had a single governmentwide option with the ability to access a pool of unused minutes rather than paying overage fees.

Ely said in her blog post that said federal agencies saved an average 26 percent on wireless solutions in 2017 using the vehicle.

The extension will also give the agency a little more time to develop an agile, next-generation mobile services contract vehicle, according to Ely.

The Mobile Services Category Team -- made up of GSA, the Office of Management and Budget and the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and State -- is working with GSA's Enterprise Mobility Program on a more agile buying tool for mobile services.

The two groups, she said, are developing on a "Request for Quote" engine agencies can use to comb through existing contracts more effectively to find flexible, cost-effective solutions more quickly.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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