The Victorian government will refresh its ten-year-old telecommunications buying panels and ask network giants to rebid in order to keep their place in the lucrative scheme.
The deal is set to replace the existing telecommunications purchasing and management strategy (TPAMS), which handed control of the state’s carriage and telephony procurement to Telstra, Optus and NEC.
The new deal will see the establishment of five “competitive panel arrangements” for data services, voice services, mobile services, internet services and unified communications.
It will be mandatory for agencies to buy from all of the panels, with the exception of the less-mature unified comms bundle.
The government said the market testing strategy had its origins in the "recognition that the government’s current TPAMS, now over a decade old, should be replaced to take advantage of changing supply conditions and the evolution of new service offerings".
It estimated that the whole of the Victorian public sector spends more than $150 million every year on services included in the scheme, based on 2014-15 figures. The central agencies that will be mandated to use the new TPAMS arrangements account for $102 million of this sum.
The state is hoping to achieve year-on-year customer satisfaction improvements and ongoing per-unit price drops with the new panels.
Members of the commodity product panels (excluding unified comms) will be expected to sign up to identical contract terms so that government customers can differentiate on price alone.
The new arrangement is expected to last for another ten years, with a minimum of two supplier refreshes built into that term.
The move represents Victoria’s second attempt to remodel the way it procures telecommunications.
In 2014, the then-Liberal government signed off on VicConnect, a more ambitious scheme that planned to outsource the operation of a single Victorian government network to the private sector, then invite third-party suppliers to deliver communications and IT services by connecting directly to that network.
The VicConnect strategy, however, was one of the casualties of the change of government later that year.
The TPAMS refresh follows the release of the state government's first IT strategy last week, which also flagged the release of a “statement of direction” for a “Victorian government data network” by August this year.