DOD negotiates five-year cellular-service BPAs

DOD negotiates five-year cellular-service BPAs

BY WILLIAM JACKSON | GCN STAFF

The Air Force's 21st Contracting Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., has awarded five-year blanket purchasing agreements to five wireless carriers.

Competitive pricing based on anticipated volume should leverage the buying power of Defense Department users, said Kim Diercks, the squadron's section chief for information technology contracting. The squadron also plans to market the BPAs to civilian agencies.

The first four agreements, signed in April, went to AT&T Corp.; International Mobile Communications Inc. of Silver Spring, Md.; Nextel Communications Inc. of Reston, Va.; and Sprint Corp. The squadron last month negotiated a fifth agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. of New York.

The deals have a maximum value of $999 million with a one-year base period and four one-year options. All the services are available nationwide. AT&T and International Mobile Communications' WorldCell also offer international service.

Two Air Force bases and one Army base have placed orders. Discussions have begun at other facilities, including the Air Force Academy and the Pentagon.

Diercks said the service established the program because wireless service has become a necessity for the military and because the General Services Administration's wireless contracts were inadequate for the service's needs. Air Force organizations often had to acquire service on a piecemeal basis'sometimes through multiple agreements for a single base, Diercks said.

Better rate than GSA

'We saw that there was nothing being offered to government users beyond what was already on GSA contracts,' she said. 'We weren't leveraging our buying power.'

The agreements cover analog and digital voice service and a variety of phones and accessories under multiple pricing plans. For instance, AT&T offers 30 plans, Diercks said, and 'we're getting a better rate than GSA.'

Also, she said, AT&T offers a zero-access plan not available under GSA's contracts. The plan lets agencies buy phones for contingencies and activate them only if needed.
'We're not paying for them unless they're used,' Diercks said.

The zero-access plan is available only in Colorado and Utah, but Diercks said it might be expanded if demand grows. Data services such as messaging and Internet access also might be added.

For more information, contact Diercks at the 21st Contracting Squadron at 719-556-4796.

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