GSA seeks comments on governmentwide wireless buy

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

The procurement, which could run up to 5 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.

For services, GSA is looking for broadband, wireless cellular and Wi-Fi. Also, the services must be available both within the continental United States and beyond.

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

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

The team managing the wireless initiative includes representatives from "at least ten 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," team leaders believe, helping the federal government do a better job of tracking the acquisition of products and services.

Prior to 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 beginning to end, from deployment to operation and eventually to disposal.

About the Author

John Monroe is Senior Events Editor for the 1105 Public Sector Media Group, where he is responsible for overseeing the development of content for print and online content, as well as events. John has more than 20 years of experience covering the information technology field. Most recently he served as Editor-in-Chief of Federal Computer Week. Previously, he served as editor of three sister publications: civic.com, which covered the state and local government IT market, Government Health IT, and Defense Systems.

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