AT&T, Basking Ridge, N.J., scored big in the federal marketplace last week by landing a Defense Information Systems Agency contract potentially worth $5 billion.
The one-year contract, which includes options for another eight years, calls for AT&T to provide warfare backbone and access area transmission services for the continental United States.
Last week's announcement marks the third of four initial Defense Information System Network contracts to be awarded by DISA. The first contract, DISN Support Services Global, was awarded to Boeing Co., Seattle, in June 1996. The second, DISN Switched/Bandwidth Management Services, was awarded to MCI Communications Corp., Washington, in August 1996. Officials at DISA plan to award the fourth contract, DISN Video Services Global, by the end of this spring. AT&T will bid on the fourth segment of the contract.
"We're pleased and excited to have won this backbone contract with the government, who is a key customer," said Dick Lombardi, AT&T president of government markets, in a Jan. 30 teleconference. "We're looking forward to working with military users to provide them superior-quality systems."
How close to $5 billion the company eventually snares will depend on the type of equipment and quantity the government orders.
Lombardi pointed out that reaching the $5 billion mark would be no easy feat.
"To approach that number would require that the government order a large amount of equipment and service," he said. "We would like that but we're not going to count on it."
The specific needs of the military also will affect which subcontractors get a substantial piece of the pie, he said. The 11 subcontractors include a number of regional Bell operating companies, as well as Time Warner Communications Inc., Englewood, Colo., and Metropolitan Fiber Systems Inc., Vienna, Va.
The only other bidders were MCI and Sprint Corp., Kansas City, Mo., even though the government solicited bids from 190 contractors.