The government's new contract for discounted wireless services and mobile devices is expected to save $300 million over five years. (Getty Images)
The General Services Administration on Wednesday awarded a governmentwide contract for discounted wireless services and mobile devices, which the agency expects will save $300 million over five years.
Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were awarded spots on the Wireless Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative contract. The contract aims to cut costs by capitalizing on the more than $1 billion the government purchases each year in wireless services and products, which GSA hopes to steer through its new contract.
Wednesday’s announcement means GSA has achieved one of several milestones outlined in the Obama administration's Digital Strategy released a year ago. The contract offers each agency the option to pool their unused minutes with a specific carrier instead of paying additional overage fees, as well as access to smartphones, cellphones and broadband data devices.
The wireless contract was slated to be released in November, but it was delayed by a protest Verizon filed last June with the Government Accountability Office. The contract's delay has forced some agencies to award their own contracts for mobile and wireless services or modify the terms of existing contracts, at a time when the administration is trying to rein in duplicative wireless services contracts.
“Until now, wireless purchasing has been fragmented among multiple buying channels resulting in individual bureaus, departments and operating divisions across the government managing more than 4,000 wireless agreements and 800 wireless plans from various carriers,” GSA said in a statement.
. The Department of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Energy, Interior and Justice departments have committed to using the contract.