Optus misses out on spot in new whole-of-gov telco panel

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Optus misses out on spot in new whole-of-gov telco panel

Finance announces new members.

Optus has missed out on being one of the initial line-up of telcos appointed to the federal government's new four-year, whole-of-government telecommunications services panel. 

The shake-up of the federal government's telco buying schemes was first signalled in March, when the Finance department revealed its plans to overhaul its existing arrangements in line with the expiry of three major telco panels. 

It dumped two underperforming panels but decided to keep and rejig the internet-based network connection services (IBNCS) panel, which covered the procurement of network carriage, virtual connection management, IP carriage, and major internet connection services.

The restructure forced IBNCS providers AAPT, Fujitsu, Macquarie Telecom, Nextgen Networks, Optus, Pacnet, Soul Pattinson, Telstra, TransAct and Verizon to rebid for their spots on the new telecommunications services panel. The former IBNCS panel counted 198 contracts worth $470 million.

However, only Telstra, Macquarie Telecom, Nextgen Networks, and Verizon have managed to retain positions on the new telecommunications services panel, unveiled today.

AAPT and TransAct have since been acquired by TPG, which has also been awarded a spot on the panel (replacing subsidiary Soul Pattinson), and Pacnet was last year snapped up by Telstra, with the brand discontinued.

Rounding out the six-member new panel is Canberra-based managed services provider Sliced Tech, leaving Optus and Fujitsu off the list.

Optus said it was still negotiating to be included on the panel.

Fujitsu has been contacted for comment.

The TSP does not impact the whole-of-government mobile panel, which was last refreshed in 2014.

TSP members have been appointed for four years, with three possible one-year extensions. 

It will be mandatory for central government agencies to purchase network carriage, managed networks, and internet connection services through the panel. Procurement of satellite services through the panel is optional.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the TSP panel was expected to deliver savings of over $94 million.

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