Federal govt shifts tablet procurement to new panel

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Federal govt shifts tablet procurement to new panel

Devices will stay on desktop panel until 2014 expiry.

The federal government has moved the procurement of tablet devices away from its soon-to-expire desktop panel and onto its new mobile panel following a review of the arrangement.

The two-year old Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services Panel had been inactive since July 2012, when Australian Government CTO John Sheridan commenced a review into the arrangement’s inability to offer satisfactory value for money.

The Department of Finance today revealed the result of the review - a new, renamed “Mobile Panel”, which similarly deals with the procurement of mobile phone handsets and carriage services, with the addition of tablet devices.

It is calling for a fresh round of bids for membership of the revised deal.

Core government agencies currently procure tablets from the whole-of-government Desktop Hardware Panel. But upon the panel’s August 2014 expiry, it will be mandatory for agencies to procure the devices from the new Mobile Panel instead.

Similarly mandatory services to be procured from the Mobile Panel include mobile carriage services (voice, data and SIM), and mobile phone, smartphone and mobile broadband devices.

Also available, but not mandatory, through the panel are international voice and data roaming, satellite carriage services and mobile voice-over-IP.

Satellite phones, mobile hardware accessories, enterprise mobility management solutions and wireless access solutions are all also available through the panel.

No size limit has been established for the panel. It will run for three years with two possible year-long extensions.

The addition of tablet devices will mean suppliers wishing to provide government agencies with the devices will need to retender from the desktop panel over to the mobile panel.

One of the suppliers impacted by the move will be Ethan Group, which has reaped over $3.4 million from federal government tablet contracts through the Desktop Hardware Panel since June 2011.

Thanks to its membership of the closed panels, it has emerged as the main supplier of iPads to Canberra agencies.

It sits on the desktop panel with Staples Australia, Data#3, Datacom Services, NEC, Greenbox Systems, APCD and UXC Connect, as well as vendors Acer, Dell and HP.

It will now need to tender for admission to the new Mobile Panel, as will current TCCAS panel members Telstra, Optus, Teledesign and TransACT.

Since 2011 the TCCAS has facilitated 129 contracts over $10,000, at a total value of over $46 million.

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