GSA flexes buying muscle to improve wireless deals

The General Services Administration has released a request for information for wireless cellular services, seeking the industry's perspective on buying cell phones, personal digital assistants and cellular network cards, as well as services such as broadband and WiFi, through a volume-purchase program.

The Office of Management and Budget directed agencies in May 2005 to begin buying five commodities, including cell phones and IT hardware, through a strategic sourcing program beginning that October. GSA and the Treasury Department launched the Strategic Sourcing Initiative in November 2005 to coordinate the effort across government.

The request for information, which came under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative, is the first one asking for industry input on how it would support federal agencies with these products and services. The goal is to establish a common procurement vehicle, lower the costs of wireless services and use business intelligence for better decision- making and performance management.

From the analysis, the strategic sourcing initiative wireless team "discovered the challenges that agencies are experiencing with inaccurate wireless inventories, incorrect billing and a multitude of service plans that are confusing and unmanageable," the request stated.

The request also stated that the objective is to reduce costs through economies of scale and more efficient management and control of agency inventories.

If GSA goes forward with a contract, it would be for one year with four one-year options, according to the request.

Jason Miller is assistant managing editor of Government Computer News. He can be reached at

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